25th May 2020


Microsoft has issued an alert to users concerning a new widespread COVID-19 themed phishing campaign.  Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails pretending to be from reputable organisations in induce people to reveal personal information, including e.g.  passwords and credit card numbers.

This latest scam involves people receiving an email pretending to be from the John Hopkins Center.  The emails tend to have a subject line such as: "WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT”.  The file attachment within  (its an Excel file)  if opened, then installs a piece of software called 'NetSupport Manager Remote Administration Tool’.  Once installed this can completely take over a the person’s  system and execute commands on it remotely. This clearly puts all you data at risk.

It is believed this scam started around 12th May and it does not always use the same file attachment - several hundred unique attachments have been observed so far.

Phishing is an increasing problem and we advise everyone to take great care with emails that contain file attachments if they come from a non-trusted source.  Also be aware of forwarded items from even trusted sources that contain files as the files may have originated from an untrusted source.