Corona Virus and Computer Viruses

[UPDATED: See the end of the article]

Obviously, the corona virus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s minds these days – largely because you can’t avoid the super scary, 24/7 news coverage about death tolls, cruise ships full of infected people, global heat maps, and all the click-bait articles.

But whenever there is a big, scary news story, you can bet that there will be malware and phishing campaigns right there to take advantage of everyone’s fears and anxiousness.

Already there have been several reports of bad guys using this news to lure anxiety-ridden people into clicking the wrong link, opening the wrong attachment, and/or giving away private information. So not only do you need to guard against transmission of the corona virus, but you also need to watch out for catching a computer virus.

As a general rule, be leery of any emails or websites that are playing to your fears or some other sensational news story.

As for the corona virus itself, listen to the scientists and health organizations – not the politicians, not social media, not talk shows, not even your friends and family. I personally recommend the CDC website or perhaps the World Health Organization website. The basic advice is simple:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze

UPDATE (3/12/2020):

Beware of emails and social media posts with coronavirus news. I’ve seen this one already twice today: “From a member of the Stanford hospital board…” Hint: it’s not from Stanford Hospital. And much of the suggestions are wrong or misleading.

ALWAYS fact-check your info before you spread it, especially life-or-death info. My go-to for fact checking is snopes.com, who has at least three articles related to this email:

See also: Beware COVID-19 Scams (part 2)

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