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Security & privacy

There is no COVID-19 vaccine, no matter what these scam emails say

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, people across the world are looking to scientists for an answer that can end the suffering. As of now, several therapeutic treatments and vaccines are in development, but none are officially ready for mass consumption just yet.

But the reality of the pandemic hasn’t stopped scammers from tricking uninformed people into swallowing bogus COVID-19 treatments and cures. In fact, they’re buying entire websites dedicated to stealing information and ripping people off with these quack medical products. Tap or click here to see what these scam sites look like.

With scientists getting closer to a real vaccine, scammers are now using upcoming treatments as a new ploy in their extortion efforts. People across the web are getting unusual emails promising early access to a vaccine, and the scammers behind them are raking in money and data. If you get this email, here’s why you need to delete it ASAP.

Scammers falsely claim to have the COVID-19 vaccine

According to Check Point Security, a new scam campaign is making use of COVID-19 vaccine developments to trick people into downloading malware. These cyberattacks, like most of the COVID-19 related scams, are coming in the form of email. And if you click the link inside, you could end up losing control of your system.

The unsolicited emails typically arrive with the promise of information about the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine, along with versions of the scam promising early access (should you click the link in the email, of course).

Once you do, however, the email downloads a malicious Word or Excel document filled with code that can compromise your system from the inside.

Mac users, thankfully, are unaffected by these messages. All they’ll do instead is clog up your inbox.

Tap or click here to see if your Mac is at risk for more malware threats.

If you receive any emails regarding a COVID-19 vaccine, delete them immediately without opening. Currently, there is no COVID-19 vaccine available globally, and any early access would be restricted to test subjects. We doubt that many people want to be guinea pigs at this point in time during the pandemic, anyway.

But despite the fact that there is no official COVID-19 vaccine just yet, that hasn’t stopped one country from claiming to develop it before anyone else. Can you guess which one it is?

Russia claims to beat every country to the finish line with its COVID-19 vaccine

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had officially approved a vaccine that allegedly immunizes against COVID-19.

The rapid pace of development suggests that Russian scientists worked on a much faster timetable than scientists elsewhere in the world. This sparked claims that Russia may have cut corners in the vaccine’s development and that administering it to the human population at large may be dangerous.

But Putin fired back with an unusual personal anecdote: He allegedly had his own daughter test out the vaccine. He claims that she experienced nothing more than a slight fever with each dose, but has since recovered and achieved immunity. At this time, Russia has not officially even entered phase 3 testing of the vaccine on human subjects.

These are extraordinary claims, which would typically require extraordinary evidence to be verified. Unfortunately, Russia is withholding any scientific data related to the vaccine’s development. I suppose we’ll just have to take Putin’s word for it.

After all, it’s not like Russia has been suspected of peddling fake news and propaganda during the pandemic, right?

Tap or click here to see why The National Interest and the BBC believe Russia is behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories

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