Coronavirus: FG warns on malicious ‘Ransomware’ app offering updates on pandemic

The Federal Government on Tuesday, March 25; warned Nigerians over the existence of an Android-based malicious and fraudulent coronavirus Ransomware application.

This application claims to provide updates on COVID-19 and infections near the user.

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, the Ransomware blocks access to users’ personal data; and accounts; and also threatens deletion; unless users pay $100 in Bitcoin within 48 hours.

He said further that the Ransomware App, detected on the website www.coronavirusapp.site, “prompts users to download an Android App purportedly for coronavirus map tracking and heat map visuals.”

The minister noted that the development has confirmed warnings against cybercriminals seeking to exploit the growing spread of the virus for nefarious gains; calling on the general public not to download the Ransomware App and to only seek updates on the pandemic from the appropriate authorities.

Meanwhile, authorities in northeast Nigeria on Monday, March 23; banned visitors from camps housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency; in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

No coronavirus infections have been reported in the sprawling facilities; but aid workers fear overcrowding and poor hygiene conditions make them particularly vulnerable.

A statement from the regional government of Borno state, the epicentre of the decade-long conflict; said they were imposing a “four-week ban on visitors to all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps” after neighbouring Chad and Cameroon confirmed cases.

State Emergency Management Agency head Hajiya Yabawa Kolo also instructed camp managers “not to accept IDPs from any neighbouring country into their camps.

“We do not want to go to the issue of response because even in developed countries; it was difficult for them to contain the coronavirus pandemic,” she said in a statement.

“So at our own level, we are positioning ourselves to see how best we can stop the virus from transmitting.”

Ng daily

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