Wuhan Corona Virus Email Scams Prey Fear and Disruption

March 17, 2020

10:00-11:00AM PST

Wuhan corona virus email scams are proliferating. Fear, confusion, disinformation and disruption are leading symptoms of the Wuhan corona virus. They create an ideal environment for hackers and thieves and represent a real threat to your cyber security,


  • People hungry for information and confused by conflicting reports are prone to click on anything that hooks into their anxiety.
  • Distracted by news that hypes fear, people become careless and disregard common sense best practices.
  • Massive numbers of employees are working remotely, creating multiple security vulnerabilities.
  • Since home feels safe, employees working remotely may relax their approach to cyber security.

Hackers are ready to make the most of this opportunity. Here are some of the new corona virus email scams:

Malicious emails from health and news organizations

Malicious news from spoofed organizations are on the rise. Hackers impersonate organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and present malicious links that install malware or try to capture financial details, personal information and password credentials. Before open any emails or clicking on their links, think twice and check it out. The WHO website details how to spot WHO impersonations and fakes as does the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Raising money for fraudulent charities

Fake charities seem to pop around every disaster. One fraudulent email scheme purports to raise money to vaccinate children in China—but as of this writing, such a vaccine has yet to be invented.


Selling Hoard-able Sold-out Products Like Face Masks and Disinfectant

Emails are making the rounds selling hard-to-find products like face masks, hand sanitizer, and even toilet paper. Click a link, and you’ll end up at a fraudulent e-commerce site that will take your credit card information, send you nothing, and rack up charges.

What to Do: Re-Emphasize Email Security

Now is the time to reinforce security training with employees, particularly those moving to remote working environments. Remind them to be particularly careful about email, explaining how criminals will try to exploit their emotions during this time. Specific advice to offer:

  • Do not click on unsolicited emails, links they contain, or attachments they may offer.
  • Do not offer personal information on any email link. It is better to contact any organization directly.
  • Do not be manipulated by emails that try to build a sense of alarm and demand immediate action.
  • Double check any charity or calls for crowdfunding donations.

Besides warning employees, now is a good time to check your email security protections. Update as appropriate and if you don’t have it, don’t delay. Install quality protections today.

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