The Side Effects of the Coronavirus on your Business

The impact of Coronavirus virus my have hit your business through supply disruptions, travel restrictions and people staying indoors and not going to public places. The timing of the virus to coincide with the Chinese New Years and a USA/China trade battle is a plot right out of a conspiracy movie. The global pandemic strategy to contain the virus and its spread is mankind working together for a common good but it seems this new pandemic has world leaders on edge as it appears this virus is still spreading. We need to be mindful of the media coverage as they tend to overstate the facts to get attention that may cause fear, just like the latest snow snow storm warnings that may never come.

Unfortunately, there are some black hats (Hackers) that will try and exploit this fear of the Coronavirus for financial gain. Proofpoint announced on February 10, attackers exploited Coronavirus fears by sending malicious health information emails aimed at Japanese-language speakers. Proofpoint researchers also uncovered new Coronavirus-themed email attacks that focus on concerns around disruptions to global shipping. 

In this effort, attackers are nearly exclusively targeting industries that are particularly susceptible to shipping disruptions including manufacturing, industrial, finance, transportation, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic companies (in that order). Here is an example that is being sent out.

While this specific Coronavirus-themed email campaign is narrow in its focus, it features malicious Microsoft Word documents, exploits a two-and-a-half-year-old vulnerability, and installs AZORult, an information stealing malware. The malware actors doing this appear to be from Russia and Eastern Europe. All emails with Coronavirus-themes and attachments should be treated with caution, even if they don’t appear to be directly health related.

If you are concerned about your office in the spread of airborne viruses you may want to read the BOMA Guide to Pandemic Planning for Commercial buildings