Zika Virus Email Scam Deployed to Share Malware

Recently a healthcare group had its electronic health record system encrypted by ransomware; now a Zika virus email scam has been found, showing the depths that some hackers and cybercriminals will use to in order to make a quick profit.

This most recent email scam takes advantage of the public interest in the Zika virus disease in Brazil. Since April 2015, the number of reported cases of Zika fever has surged. Zika fever is caused by the transmission of the Zika virus by Aedes mosquitos. Zika fever produces similar symptoms to Dengue fever, although the symptoms are often not so severe.

Scientists have also been warned of an increase in the number of cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil. Microcephaly is a birth defect that leads to babies being born with a smaller than average head as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes. The surge in microcephaly has been linked to the rise in cases of Zika virus.

While no finite proof has been uncovered to suggest that pregnant women contracting Zika are likely to give birth to babies with microcephaly, there is a lot of worry that Zika can cause the birth defect. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the virus has now been recorded in 23 countries. People are naturally concerned. Women in Brazil and Columbia have been advised to avoid becoming pregnant and hold off having children, while the government in El Salvador has told women not to get pregnant until at least 2018.

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

Zika Virus Email Scam Shares JS.Downloader Malware

The Zika virus email scam now being shared in Brazil and is being sent in Portuguese. The Zika virus email scam seems to have been shared from Saúde Curiosa (Curious Health), which is a authentic health and wellness website in Brazil. The email has an attachment infected with JS.Downloader. JS.Downloader is a malware that is used to insgtall 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 tells the recipient to visit the link contained in the email to find out how to kill the mosquitos that spread the virus, although the email also contains a file attachment which the email recipient is asked to open. Doing so will install the malware onto the user’s device. The link brings the user to Dropbox with the same result.

Anyone who is sent an unsolicited email with advice about the Zika virus, regardless of the language it is written in, should treat the email with concern. This is unlikely to be the only Zika virus email scam sent by hackers in 2016. With the Olympics taking place in Brazil in the summer, criminals are likely to use topics such as the Zika virus to transmit malware.

If you would like more details about Zika, check the WHO website. If you are sent a Zika virus email, delete it and do not visit on any links in the email or click on any attachments.

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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 focus on data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone. https://twitter.com/ElizabethHzone