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Do not trust the "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" scam email

Also Known As: Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus spam
Damage level: Medium

What is the "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" email?

"Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" is a scam email. The message claims that the scammers behind it know various personal and compromising information concerning the recipient. Furthermore, it makes false threats, such as infecting the recipient's family with the coronavirus should they fail to meet the ransom demands.

Note that all claims made in this email are false and should be disregarded.

Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus Email Scam email spam campaign

The "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" email claims that the senders know all of the recipient's personal "secrets". The scammers allege that they know all of users' account passwords, locations, with whom they interact and their daily routines in general, however, the message provides no specific details.

For example, it is claimed that the recipient's location is known, yet neither country nor region are specified. The scammers threaten to infect the user's family with the coronavirus, reveal their secrets, and so on. To prevent any of these fake scenarios, the recipient is instructed to pay the equivalent of $US4000 US in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

The ransom must be paid within 24 hours. If the demands are not met, the threats are carried out, thereby seriously affecting the recipient's personal circumstances. The email ends by claiming that the (nonexistent) compromising information will be deleted and the victim will never be contacted again so long as the demands are met.

This is supposedly non-negotiable, so the recipient must not reply to the message. As mentioned in the introduction, "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" is a scam. While the threats made in this email may seem serious, they are all false. Therefore, simply ignore the message. Do not trust this email or others like it.

Threat Summary:
Name Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus Email Scam.
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims that unless recipients pay a ransom, their "secrets" will be publicized and their family infected with the coronavirus.
Cyber Criminals' Cryptowallet Address 17P3S6DuNUpW2WLozsrrW6rRd6xh24Rc7N (Bitcoin)
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Deceptive/Scam emails are distributed (sent) by the thousand during operations called "spam campaigns". "I Know A Lot More Things About You", "Arabitol GLOBAL TRADING", and "I infected your computer with my private trojan" are some examples of other schemes similar to "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus". 

These messages are usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent" and similar. They might also be disguised as mail from legitimate organizations, institutions, companies, service providers, etc. The sole purpose of these emails is to generate revenue for the individuals behind them.

This can be done via ransom demands, phishing (i.e., attempts to trick users into providing personal information such as names, addresses, account log-ins and passwords, etc.), malware proliferation and so on.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Systems are infected through dangerous files attached to deceptive/scam emails or, alternatively, these messages can contain the download links of malicious content. Infectious files can be in various formats such as archive (ZIP, RAR) and executable (.exe, .run) files, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.

When malicious files are executed, run or otherwise opened, the infection process starts. Therefore, when they are opened, download/installation of malware is triggered. For example, upon being opened, Microsoft Office docs request users to enable macro commands (to enable editing).

Once enabled, the infection process begins, however, this process is started automatically (when the document is opened) in Microsoft Office programs released prior to 2010.

How to avoid installation of malware

To avoid malware infections spread via spam campaigns, you are advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links present in dubious mail, since these files are a potential source of infection. Use Microsoft Office versions released after 2010.

The newer versions have "Protected View" mode, which prevents malicious documents from beginning to download/install malware immediately upon being opened. A

s well as spam campaigns, malware is also proliferated through illegal activation ("cracking") tools, fake updaters and untrusted download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders). Therefore, it is important to activate and update products with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers.

Use only official and verified download sources. To ensure device and user safety, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Use this software for regular system scans and removal of detected threats/issues.

If you have already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Infect Your Family With CoronaVirus" email message:

I know every dirty little secret abοut your life. To prove my point, tell me, does ****** ring any bell tο yοu? It was οne οf yοur passwοrds.

What dο I know abοut you?

Tο start with, I knοw all of yοur passwords. I am aware of your whereabοuts, what yοu eat, with whοm you talk, every little thing yοu do in a day.

What am I capable οf dοing?

If I want, I cοuld even infect yοur whοle family with the CοronaVirus, reveal all of yοur secrets. There are cοuntless things I can dο.

What should yοu do?

Yοu need tο pay me $4000. You'll make the payment via Βitcoin to the belοw-mentiοned address. If you dοn't knοw how tο do this, search 'how tο buy bitcoin' in Goοgle.
Βitcoin Address:
**********
(It is cAsE sensitive, sο cοpy and paste it)

You have 24 hours to make the payment. I have a unique pixel within this email message, and right now, I knοw that yοu have read this email.

If I dο not get the payment:

I will infect every member οf your family with the CοronaVirus. No matter how smart yοu are, believe me, if I want to affect, I can. I will also gο ahead and reveal yοur secrets. I will completely ruin yοur life.


Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will erase every little informatiοn I have abοut yοu immediately. You will never hear from me again. It is a nοn-negotiable οffer, sο dοn't waste my time and yours by replying to this email.

Nikita

Another similar scam email relating to coronavirus:

Coronavirus-related scam email

Text presented within this email:

Hi,  neighbor.
Tests confirmed that I was sick with a coronavirus.
Doctors said that in the week I will leave the world.
My parents will be left without my support.
And at this time you will live enjoying.
I think this is unfair, and I suggests you pay me.
What I am sitting at home and don't try to infect your home.
Life or money.
Hurry up! Every hour, I hate you more and more.

My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) 17P3S6DuNUpW2WLozsrrW6rRd6xh24Rc7N

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Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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