Microsoft Discovers Coronavirus-Themed Malware in Excel Sheets

The hackers use a software called NetSupport Manager that installs itself when the malware is downloaded.

Tech News
2 min read
A man works on a laptop computer near a Windows 10 display at Microsoft Build in San Francisco. 

The Microsoft Security Intelligence team recently disclosed two massive phishing campaigns being run by hackers that dupe users into downloading an Excel sheet into their computer which gives the hackers remote access to your PC.

As per the report, some of the emails claim to be from the John Hopkins University while others are offers on personal COVID-19 testing services.

The emails arrive with an Excel sheet attached to them with titles like “WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT,” and users are duped into downloading them on their computers.

Little do the users know that these Excel files have malware embedded into the code which automatically installs a remote desktop software called NetSupport Manager without the user’s consent.

This way an attacker can gain full control of your PC and have access to files on the hard drive and also drop some other malware to extract information.

In normal circumstances, NetSupport Manager is a safe software application that can be used to give someone remote access to your desktop. However, the nature of the application is what keeps antivirus from detecting it as a threat.


You should also know that hackers can also infect your mobile phones with malicious apps.

Some apps available through Google and Apple app stores are disguised as coronavirus trackers or information apps but in reality they’re malware. And while Google and Apple have delisted a lot of fake apps, new ones seem to generate from time to time.

Therefore, it is advised that you do not install or download any unknown emails or apps from the internet to your personal devices.

Even if you accidentally open an email from an unknown source do not install or download any attachments on that mail. It could be a potential threat.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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