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a bad thing gets worse

The WHO faces a 2nd front in the coronavirus fight: hackers

As if the World Health Organization didn't have enough to worry about.

The WHO is currently leading the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 382,000 people and left nearly 17,000 dead as of Tuesday. But it's also contending with more than double the cyberattacks it's used to, along with disinformation campaigns it has to combat, Reuters reports.

One major hacking operation caught and fought off involved a sophisticated attempt to mimic the WHO's email servers and steal system passwords from employees, Reuters learned from cybersecurity expert Alexander Urbelis. Urbelis said he didn't know who was behind the attack, but two sources told Reuters they believed a group of elite hackers known as DarkHotel was responsible. WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio confirmed the attempt happened, but said it was unsuccessful.

That's just one example among a "more than twofold increase in cyberattacks" the WHO has seen in these trying times, Reuters reports via a senior agency official. And while combating the coronavirus itself is plenty to deal with, the WHO also has to worry about thousands of websites purporting to share COVID-19 advice that is either false or downright malicious — Urbelis says he's seen about 2,000 crop up every day. Read more at Reuters.