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Coronavirus rumour mongering can land you in jail

Cyber criminals and rumour mongers are taking advantage of Coronavirus crisis by writing malicious scripts and circulating fake content on social media.



Coronavirus rumour mongering can land you in jail


Many state government are taking efforts in keeping a check on such cases. Karnataka state government has said that any efforts by individuals or organisations to spread misinformation or rumours about COVID-19 will now be treated as a punishable offence.

Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Medical Education and Health and Family Welfare) said that no person, institution or organisation should use any print or electronic media for misinformation regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of the Department of Health and Family Welfare. This is to avoid spread of any rumour or unauthenticated information regarding COVID-19. In case anyone is found indulging in such activity, it will be treated as a punishable offence under these regulations.

The Maharashtra Cyber Cell also announced that netizens should use social media carefully and with responsibility given the pandemic caused by Coronavirus.

According to a senior official, cyber cell was closely monitoring the content being shared on the social media.

“Considering the pandemic world over, I urge the net users to use social media with responsibility. We are asking agencies concerned to take down objectionable content, if found any from social media,” Harish Baijal, DIG, Cyber Security Maharashtra Police.

Noting that several people have shared random messages like garlic or onion can help combat coronavirus, Baijal said people should consult only doctors or experts on the dos and don’ts.

He also urged people to refer to information disseminated by the Union Health Ministry’s official website. The official also said that offence can be registered under the IT Act or IPC against those who share objectionable content.

District Magistrate BN Singh said those found guilty of spreading rumours about coronavirus can be booked under the Gangster Act.

Security experts say a spike in email scams linked to coronavirus is the worst they have seen in years. As governments across the world are trying to minimize the outbreak of Coronavirus, steps are being taken to limit public gatherings by cancelling public events, places, schools etc. Since people want to be updated about these developments in their respective cities, hackers have been using city-specific messages which contain information about these government orders and asking users to click on link which takes users to an outside page. In this latest example, an email intimating the closure of schools, colleges and cinema halls in Delhi is used to lure the user and draw them into clicking on a suspicious link. Once you click on any of the outside links, it will prompt the system to open a new outside web-page which might contain harmful malware.

Hackers are also pretending to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) claim that an attached document details how recipients can prevent the disease’s spread. It contains a ZIP file attachment and will lead you to an external page which will end up installing an encrypted malware called GuLoader into your system, compromising your passwords and banking details.

Hackers are using fear-mongering tactics to encourage clicks and downloads.

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