SAMA executive leadership is committed to keeping you updated on the latest on the COVID-19/Coronavirus news. Our purpose, which is our #1 priority, is the safety and health of our members, their families and our regional community where we work and live. Below you will find a couple of articles shared in a newsletter by The Cyber Shield.

Apple Says It’s A-OK to Use Clorox Wipes on Your iPhone

Gizmodo, 12 Mar 2020: Apple has finally given users a clear answer as to whether it’s safe to use disinfectant on its products, and it turns out it’s perfectly fine to use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes or Clorox disinfecting wipes to clean your phone. Last week, Gizmodo reached out to several leading gadget manufacturers and asked whether it was safe to use alcohol to disinfect their products. Apple, for one, previously said on a support page that iPhones have “a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic—oil repellent—coating. Cleaning products and abrasive materials will diminish the coating and might scratch your iPhone.” But now they appear to have changed their minds: Apple contacted Gizmodo on Monday with a link to an updated version of a support page, which now includes text specifically addressing how to disinfect Apple products. “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach,” the notice states. “Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.” On its own support page, Lenovo says that you can use a dab of isopropyl alcohol to clean its computer keyboards, or a 50-50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water to clean its LCD displays (while the computer is powered down, obviously). The same goes for Dell. When asked about their formal policies for disinfecting gadgets, Lenovo, HP, and Dell all deferred to recommendations by the CDC and the World Health Organization. The latter advises that if someone expects “a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.” Samsung did not immediately return a request for comment. Google, meanwhile, notes on a Pixel support page that users can “use ordinary household soap” on a damp cloth or cleaning wipes to clean their phones. A Google spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that isopropyl alcohol-based wipes and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are safe, but noted that device owners should “avoid getting moisture into any openings, such as the USB-C port.”


Coronavirus: How hackers are preying on fears of Covid-19

BBC, 13 Mar 2020: Security experts say a spike in email scams linked to coronavirus is the worst they have seen in years. Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found. The BBC has tracked five of the campaigns:

  1. Click here for a cure: The message purported to be from a mysterious doctor claiming to have details about a vaccine being covered up by the Chinese and UK governments. The firm says people who click on the attached document are taken to a spoof webpage designed to harvest login details. It says up to 200,000 of the emails are being sent at a time. Proofpoint says three to four variations are launched each day. The best way to see where a link will take you is to hover your mouse cursor over it to reveal the true web address. If it looks dodgy, don’t click.
  2. Covid-19 tax refund: Researchers at cyber-security firm Mimecast flagged this scam a few weeks ago. In the morning they detected it, they saw more than 200 examples in just a few hours. If a member of the public clicked on “access your funds now”, it would take them to a fake government webpage, encouraging them to input all their financial and tax information. “Do not respond to any electronic communication in relation to monies via email,” says Carl Wearn, head of e-crime at Mimecast.
  3. Little measure that saves: Hackers pretending to represent the World Health Organization (WHO) claim that an attached document details how recipients can prevent the disease’s spread. “This little measure can save you,” they claim. But Proofpoint says the attachment doesn’t contain any useful advice, and instead infects computers with malicious software called AgentTesla Keylogger. To avoid this scam, be wary of emails claiming to be from WHO, as they are probably fake. Instead visit its official website or social media channels for the latest advice.
  4. The virus is now airborne: The subject line reads: Covid-19 – now airborne, increased community transmission. It is designed to look like it’s from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It uses one of the organization’s legitimate email addresses but has in fact been sent via a spoofing tool. It says the link directs victims to a fake Microsoft login page, where people are encouraged to enter their email and password. Then victims are redirected to the real CDC advice page, making it seem even more authentic. Of course, the hackers now have control of the email account.
  5. Donate here to help the fight: The fake CDC email asks for donations to develop a vaccine, and requests payments be made in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The email address and signature look convincing. Overall, Kaspersky says it has detected more 513 different files with coronavirus in their title, which contain malware.