JUST IN: FG alerts Nigerians to existence of coronavirus ransomware

JUST IN: FG alerts Nigerians to existence of coronavirus ransomware

- The federal government has alerted Nigerians to a scam geared towards extorting citizens

- The government says an app on android phones is claiming to inform users of new coronavirus infections in their domain

- Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, called on members of the public not to download the app because it is fraudulent

The federal government has alerted Nigerians to the existence of an android-based malicious and fraudulent coronavirus ransomware application.

Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed raised the alarm via a press statement on Tuesday, March 24.

Mohammed said the application claims to provide updates on the virus and infections near the user.

He said the ransomware blocks access to users' personal data and accounts and threatens deletion unless users pay One Hundred US Dollars ($100) in Bitcoin within 48 hours.

According to him, 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.

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The minister called on the general public not to download the app and to seek updates on the pandemic only from appropriate authorities.

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In the last few days, there has been a sharp increase in the magnitude of coronavirus cases in Nigeria causing panic among citizens.

The federal government is, however, adopting very strict measures to contain the spread of the viral disease.

On Monday, March 23, three major decisions were taken by the Buhari administration.

The government asked some public servants to work from home from Tuesday, March 24 via a directive issued by Mrs Yemi Esan, the head of service ​of the federation.

“Government is concerned about the welfare and safety of all public servants just as it is about other Nigerians.

“All public servants are, therefore, strongly advised to follow the measures being put in place by the government to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

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“As a further step to check the spread of COVID-19, all non-essential public servants on grade level 12 and below are to work from home with effect from Tuesday 24th March 2020 until further notice,” a memo from Esan's office read.

The Buhari's government also announced the closure of all land borders and suspended its weekly federal executive council meeting “until further notice,” according to an announcement by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha who doubles as the chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19.

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