Microsoft releases data on coronavirus-related cyber threats

Coronavirus hackers and scammers using new techniques

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Microsoft is publishing a trove of security data related to coronavirus-related cyber threats in order to help stop the attacks, the company said Thursday.

The goal is to increase awareness of the attackers’ new techniques and how to spot them, according to Microsoft.

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“As a security intelligence community, we are stronger when we share information that offers a more complete view of attackers’ shifting techniques,” the company wrote in a blog post. “This more complete view enables us all to be more proactive in protecting, detecting, and defending against attacks.”

In one example shared by the company, an attacker spoofed World Health Organization branding in a phishing email titled “possible cure for coronavirus COVID-19.” But the phony email contained a malicious file.

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Other fake emails claimed to provide “safety tips” from the Red Cross or offered “financial relief” in the name of a bank. Both contained malicious files.

Authorities have warned about a wave of coronavirus-related scams and thefts amid the pandemic. Some hackers have targeted Americans’ coronavirus relief checks, while others have sought to take advantage of weak points in corporate security as millions of people began working from home.

Pedestrians passing by the Microsoft flagship store in Sydney, Australia. (iStock)

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Microsoft said it is publicly releasing the data through its GitHub service so its customers and the wider cybersecurity community can use them to defend against “malicious actors seeking to exploit the COVID crisis.”

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