You must have come across several maps and smartphone applications that can help you track the latest data on Coronavirus.
But, what you probably didn’t know – a lot of them could have been malicious (or fake) websites created by hackers to steal your data and infect your computer with malware.
So, if you visit a fake coronavirus tracking website, it can potentially compromise your computer system or your smartphone.
Yes, that’s a real concern and this is serious.
And, this isn’t anything new for the Internet. It’s always common to see fake sites that pose as an official website.
But, it’s just sad to see that some hackers are using the critical time amidst the pandemic to trick users on the Internet (now that more people are actively using the Internet than ever before).
A message to those hackers: “Are you even human?“
In this article, I’m going to share a few details on how the fake websites collect your data or infect your computer/smartphone. Also, I will mention some trusted coronavirus tracking maps that you can use at the bottom of this article.
Here’s How Fake COVID-19 Tracking Websites Steal Your Data
A security firm “Reason Security Inc.” published a detailed report on the malware that can steal your browser activity information, passwords, IDs, etc, from your computer.
You can read the report if you want all the technical details. But, long story short: “The malware can be distributed through a harmless-looking program/app that promises to give you information on coronavirus if you install it on your computer.“
Basically, what it does is – the program loads up the official coronavirus website through the app (or something that looks similar) and gains your trust.
And, the malware is known as AZORult – which is an information stealer (discovered back in 2016). If your computer gets infected by this malware, it can steal your sensitive information and also installs additional malware without your consent.
Mostly, this is limited to Windows-powered computers (which is obviously the most-used operating system on personal computers).
But, even if you use Linux or macOS, you should not download anything that promises to show you coronavirus tracking reports, unless it’s coming from an official source.
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Not just limited to computers, but something similar (not exactly this malware) can be done on your phone. You might visit a website that tells you to download an app (even if it’s on the Play Store) which asks you to enter your personal information or your credit card details.
Tips To Keep Your Computer or Phone Safe
Here are a few tips to keep your computer/phone safe:
- Always have a trusted Antivirus program on your Windows computer (like Bitdefender, Kaspersky or Malwarebytes)
- Always use a secure VPN to prevent websites from tracking your IP address and location. I recommend using ProtonVPN.
- Do not sideload apps without verifying the source.
- Do not provide any personal information to a service that you haven’t verified properly.
How Can You Spot The Fake Websites or Apps?
So, how do you identify which is a fake website? Let me give you some pointers:
- It may ask you to download something. Don’t do that.
- You might observe a lot of advertisements on the website. Not necessarily – but it is a potential pointer.
- It may ask you for your personal details or credit card information. Stop using the website or the app if you notice that.
These are some of the most common things that you need to keep in mind to stay away from fake websites.
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Official / Trusted Coronavirus Tracking Maps
And, if you want to explore more information sources in India, you can read my existing post on how to get official information on COVID-19 in India.
If you’re not from India, here are some global map trackers that you can use as a reliable source of information:
- COVID-19 Dashboard by Johns Hopkins University (Desktop version)
- COVID-19 Dashboard by Johns Hopkins University (Mobile version)
- Google News Map
- Bing Live Map Tracker
I think these sources should come in handy to help you get the latest data in the form of map/stats worldwide.
If you found this article useful, please share it across social media platforms to spread the word!