NHS website hoax infects victims with malicious trojan

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Hackers are using an imitation NHS website to infect concerned citizens with a malicious trojan, new research has revealed.

According to security firm Kaspersky, the spoofed website claims to offer information and advice on the treatment of coronavirus, but instead scrapes sensitive data after tricking visitors into downloading an infected file.

Kaspersky says that the file downloaded from the site is a stealer trojan (or Password Stealing Ware), capable of lifting passwords, credit card data and other sensitive information from the target device.

The trojan also reportedly opens the door for the remote installation of further malware at the command of the hacker.

NHS website clone

This latest discovery marks yet another instance in which opportunist cybercriminals have exploited panic surrounding coronavirus to sow malware and cause disruption.

Recent weeks have seen ransomware and DDoS attacks on multiple healthcare institutions, already under strain as a result of the virus - including an attack on the World Health Organisation itself. 

Numerous coronavirus-related phishing scams have also entered circulation, using false claims about the spread of the disease to lure unwitting victims and infect their machines. One scam even claimed it could prevent users falling physically ill with the virus.

Often, as in this particular case, cybercriminals lean on the reputation of trusted institutions such as the NHS to cultivate a false sense of security in the victim.

To best protect themselves from scams of this kind, Kaspersky recommends users take the following steps:

1). Protect devices with a reputable internet security product
2). Update operating systems and applications as soon as possible
3). Use a unique, complex password for every online account
4). Always type URLs directly into the web browser, rather than following links
5). Back up data on a regular basis

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.