Warning: IT Scammers are trying to exploit the coronavirus health alert

Amid international efforts to contain transmission of the coronavirus, online scammers have already begun exploiting the uncertainty and fear.

Wired magazine is reporting that security firm Mimecast have already detected a phishing email.

The scam mail disseminates malicious links and points to a PDF that claims to contain information on how to protect yourself from the spread of coronavirus. “Go through the attached document on safety measures regarding the spreading of corona virus. This little measure can save you.”

Email scammers often try to elicit a sense of fear and urgency in victims. It’s not surprising that they would attempt to incorporate the coronavirus into their scams so quickly. Experts warn that people should always be alert to the latest topical news themes when assessing the emails they receive.

“Unfortunately we see this often in geopolitical events and world events,” Francis Gaffney, the director of threat intelligence at Mimecast told Wired. “This is when cybercriminals seek opportunities to use the confusion that vulnerable people have. They’ll click on links because they’re not sure.”

Meanwile, the New York Times is reporting the spread of the coronavirus and its potential reach.

It reports:  The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts.

A pandemic — an ongoing epidemic on two or more continents — may well have global consequences, despite the extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by China and other countries, including the United States.

Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however, so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause. But there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily transmitted between humans.

The Wuhan coronavirus is spreading more like influenza, which is highly transmissible, than like its slow-moving viral cousins, SARS and MERS, scientists have found.