11 January 2022

The Coronavirus Scams.

By Rahul Garg

The outbreak of contagion we are going through has left many people on alert on the subject and, unfortunately, has caused a series of virtual scams with the coronavirus. The pandemic, which began in China in December last year, has spread and cases have already been reported in about 140 countries, including India. Due to this worldwide proportion, the terms coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew wildly in online searches. This is the hot topic on the web.

Such relevance also served for hackers to take advantage and use scams with the coronavirus as bait on the internet. These are malicious viruses and applications spread through emails or social media messages (WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram), offering services related to the coronavirus, which are false and malicious.

Scammers use various means, such as videos, links or documents related to the coronavirus, which aim to invade, hijack or leak important user data. They are often passed on as information about the number of sick and dead, protection or diagnostic tips.  

The message feels real and prompts the person to take action. Whether installing an application, downloading a malicious file, providing some data, or clicking on a link. These files may contain malware: which are programs capable of stealing data and performing actions on a computer network.

We should all redouble our attention when receiving this type of content. In this article, we are going to talk about the main scams with the coronavirus and what precautions can be taken to avoid being a victim. The information is based on analysis by cybersecurity experts. Check out!

Scams with the coronavirus – know the main ones

As we have seen, scammers use various means to reach victims and make them access the malicious document in order to steal the data. See the main ones:


One of the first cases of malware involving the coronavirus happened in Japan. Hackers distributed emails bringing information on how not to be infected by the disease, pretending to be an official government agency.

But the message contained a fake Word file with Emotet malware, which was installed on the PC after downloading to steal passwords, bank details and even browsing history. 

Variations of this scam can occur with emails being sent on behalf of government institutions and with seemingly simple content, such as hygiene care. So be careful and never open emails, especially the attached files, from unknown people.


Another scam circulated through WhatsApp. The message promises Netflix for free during the period of isolation and quarantine to prevent the outbreak of the new coronavirus. In the message, there is the information that access to the streaming service is released after the user makes the supposed free registration on Netflix through the indicated link.

But this is not the official Netflix address, according to experts, but potentially malicious. The scam address had more than 1 million hits and shares. 

Important: Netflix has already issued an official statement denying that it is offering free packages due to the coronavirus, so stay tuned and avoid this scam.


Another means used by the scammers to steal the data was a fake video in which it would be possible to view the accelerated recording of the construction process of the Chinese hospital built in a few days to treat those infected with the coronavirus.

But the recording hides a banking trojan. It is not identified as a malicious file because it is used with the .msi extension, an executable file similar to .exe. 

But for experts, this has been a form widely used in scams of Brazilian origin. Due to low detection by security tools as it is not a standard executable. 

coronavirus aid

The alleged link to the “Auxílio Cidadão 2020” program, which claims that self-employed workers and low-income people are entitled to a kind of “coronavirus aid” of R$200 per month was shared on WhatsApp.

For this, the victim would have to register on a website that is, in fact, a malicious link. The current was shared in a WhatsApp group this Sunday (22) and was denied on the same day by the Special Secretariat for Social Development.

Donation of Alcohol Sanitizer

The lack of alcohol sanitizer for sale in markets and pharmacies has become another trap for scammers. Through a link circulating on WhatsApp, the message promises the free distribution of the article some company. Just click and register.

But the brewery assured that it is a scam and warned people not to access the link.

Coronavirus scams – learn how to protect yourself

In this period of pandemic, it is common to increase cases of scams with the coronavirus, as well as the sharing of fake news and false chains on social networks. 

In these cases, it is important to doubt texts that do not accompany links to official sources of health agencies, such as the WHO or the Ministry of Health, or news from well-known press vehicles.

When accessing pages to enter personal data, it is important to verify that the address begins with the HTTPS code, which has an additional layer of security than HTTP. 

Always keep an antivirus installed on your phone, and make sure the operating system is up to date. It is also important to take extra care when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Here are other tips on how to protect yourself from scams:

  • Beware of documents shared by messages;
  • Watch out for emails or messages that promise nonsense – cures, vaccines or some kind of benefit. Appealing to people’s health in times of vulnerability is a known scam;
  • Whenever you go to find out about something, look for information on major news portals or on the websites of official government agencies. At the end of this article we will provide you with some reliable links.
  • Download apps from official stores. Always avoid direct links;
  • Beware of requests to fill out data forms. If it looks suspicious, don’t do it;
  • Did you get a call? Beware of requests to confirm data. Never provide sensitive data in full, such as CPF, date of birth and parents’ names. Serious companies already have this data and will always ask you to confirm the first or last digits, as well as your parents’ initial or last name.

Coronavirus Scams – What to do if I had my data hacked?

Even with all the care, no one is 100% safe from hackers. If you have been the victim of a scam, the first thing you should do is file a police report (BO) as soon as possible with the Civil Police. But remember that you need to be able to prove that your account has been hacked. 

If you have banking apps on your cell phone, you should also call the bank branch quickly and be aware of financial transactions. It is also important to change all your passwords urgently.  

Invasion crimes, caused by hackers, are investigated by the specialized police station. On the other hand, crimes that use the internet as a medium, such as, for example, application of scams on shopping sites, are assessed as embezzlement and investigated by other police stations. 

  • Covid Visualizer – Website with real-time update of all cases of contagion and deaths reported worldwide (this website performs very well on mobile, it is worth knowing).

Specialize in Cybersecurity

Digital security is a very important topic in the modern world, even more so with so many attacks taking place. Even after the whole crisis about the coronavirus is over (and we have faith that it will be soon), the risks remain imminent, as these criminals are creative and very well updated with everything that happens in real time.

 This is a topic that is gaining more and more relevance and can open many doors for you in the job market: both for professional performance and to give your business freedom to dare more safely in digital alternatives.

Enjoy the quarantine and specialize with Cybersecurity courses. Our trainings have Live Online modality, click here and learn how to identify and protect yourself not only against the blows with the coronavirus, but from all the risks of the online environment.

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