Industry News

Fake Email from WHO Installs Malware

An email seemingly from the General Director of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, contains a new HawkEye malware variant, designed to steal valuable information from infected computers.

The attackers are using the current Coronavirus epidemic to attract potential victims by pretending to offer information about drugs that could help prevent or cure COVID-19, which is, of course, false information.

The email contains an attachment, which is actually there to deploy the HawkEye malware that installs a keylogger and an info stealer. This is not exactly a novel approach. Just a couple of weeks ago, security researchers found a RAT dropper inside an email, hidden under the name of CoronaVirusSafetyMeasures_pdf.

In the case of the Hawkeye malware, found by the IBM X-Force researchers, the file in the attachment is named Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) CURE.exe, and follows the same method. After the victim opens the executable, the malware takes a number of quick steps to try to hide the installation of the malware from any security solutions.

The HawkEye keylogger eventually installed can be used to capture screenshots, log all keystrokes, steal credentials, and send all data gathered by using the SMTP protocol. It can also steal credentials from Firefox, Thunderbird, and all other products using Mozilla-developed technology.

There’s no reason to think it’s a one-off. If anything, we’ll see more of this type of spam. Users need to remember not to open emails, attachments, or messages from unknown sources, especially the ones claiming to come from the World Health Organization.

About the author

Silviu STAHIE

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.