As the world battles to contain the novel coronavirus which has so far affected 78,994 persons in 33 countries with a death toll of 2,470 as at 23rd February 2020, internet fraudsters are also exploiting the desperation for information as a potential for cyberattack using social engineering and many other gimmicks. Due to the nature of the disease code-named COVID-19by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is so much anxiety over its spread and mode of infection. As the world awaits a possible cure, every online information with an appendage of “coronavirus” tends to attract fast attention of internet users. As a result, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty surrounding the global health emergency to launch cyberattacks and distribute malicious software with the motive of stealing confidential data, disrupting digital operations and making illicit ransom money. In this paper, Kenneth Okereafor a Cybersecurity expert and Olajide Adebola a Health Informatics expert analyse the impacts of COVID-19 panic on digital systems, the cyberspace and user privacy?Theymake recommendations for safer internet usage and privacy protection in the face of rising coronavirus-relatedonline scams.

About coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus (formally nCoV) which was officially renamed COVID-19by the World Health Organisation (WHO)on 11th February 2020 is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic in nature, meaning that they are transmitted between animals and people through pathogens shared with wild or domestic animals. Zoonotic diseases are naturally transmitted from animals to humans (or vice versa) either by the consumption of contaminated food and water, exposure to the pathogen during preparation, processing or by direct contact with infected animals or humans. Other examples of zoonotic diseases are Ebola virus disease and salmonellosis. The COVID-19 which was first spotted in Wuhan, China in December 2019, has currently spread to 33countries accounting for over 78,994cases with a rising death toll of 2,470cases, leaving 14% of the affected in serious/critical conditions. On the 30th of January 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.

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