Malware being Sent via Zika Virus Email Scam

Recently a healthcare supplier had its electronic health record system locked by ransomware; now a Zika virus email malware campaign has been discovered, revealing the depths that some hackers and cybercriminals will go to so that that can make some money.

This scam email scam takes advantage of the public interest in the Zika virus epidemic which is being experienced in Brazil. Since April last year, the amount of reported cases of Zika fever has increased. Zika fever is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Zika fever causes similar symptoms to Dengue fever, although the symptoms are often milder.

Scientists have also been warned of an increase in the number of cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil. Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes in babies to be delivered with a smaller than average head as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes. The increase in microcephaly has been connected to the the increase in cases of Zika virus.

While no solid evidence has been found to suggest that pregnant women who get Zika are likely to give birth to babies with microcephaly, there is a worry that Zika can lead to the birth defect. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the virus has now spread to 23 countries. People are naturally concerned. Women in Brazil and Columbia have been told to delay becoming pregnant until th crisis passes, while the government in El Salvador has told women not to get pregnant until at least 2018.

A possible global health issue such as Zika is naturally a concern for any woman looking to start a family, and understandably the most recent news about the virus is likely to be of interest. Scammers have been quick to take advantage of the media coverage, and a scam has been designed to take advantage and infect computers with malware

The Zika virus email scam is currently being seen in Brazil and is being sent in Portuguese. The Zika virus email scam seems to have been issued from Saúde Curiosa (Curious Health), which is a legitimate health and wellness web portal in Brazil. The email includes an attachment infected with JS.Downloader. JS. Downloader is a malware that is used to install malicious malware to infected users’ devices.

The subject line of the email reads “ZIKA VIRUS! ISSO MESMO, MATANDO COM ÁGUA!” which translates as Zika Virus! That’s Right, killing it with water!” The email advises the recipient to click on the link included in the email to discover how to kill the mosquitos that carry the virus, although the email also includes a file attachment which the email recipient is told to open. Doing so will download the malware onto the user’s device. The link sends the user to Dropbox with the same result.

Anyone receiving an unsolicited email with information about the Zika virus, irrespective of the language it is written in, should treat the email with suspicion. This is probably not going to be the only Zika virus email scam sent by cybercriminals in 2016. With the Olympics being held in Brazil this summer, criminals are likely to use topics such as the Zika virus to spread malware.

If you want more details about Zika, visit the WHO website.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has a focus data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.