Do NOT click this 'coronavirus map' – it's a dangerous scam to hijack your device

A DANGEROUS scam is offering people a fake "map" showing the spread of coronavirus in a bid to hijack their gadgets.

Researchers found a malicious app disguised as a way to find out where the deadly virus has spread.

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If downloaded, it allows cyber crooks to look at your and location and photos and possibly spy on you through your camera.

The Android app, called corona live 1.1, appears to be part of a larger mobile surveillance campaign operating out of Libya and targeting Libyan citizens.

Researcher Kristin Del Rosso, of cyber security firm Lookout, which discovered the scam, discussed the app in a blog post published Wednesday.

Tap to see where COVID-19 is near you

The software is actually masquerading as a legitimate coronavirus map app, corona live.

The authentic version uses data collected by John Hopkins University to show infection and death rates of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in different countries.

However, those who download the bogus version by mistake are in for a nasty surprise.

"Upon first launch, the app informs the user it does not require special access privileges," Kristin wrote.

"However, it subsequently proceeds to request access to photos, media, files, device location, as well as permission to take pictures and record video."

Once permissions are handed over, a hacker can download sensitive information from your phone, Kristin added.

They can even remotely activate your microphone and camera to spy on you.

Based on the IP addresses where the app is hosted, the person or group running the campaign is likely based in Libya.

It may even be part of a sophisticated state campaign to spy on citizens, Kristin wrote.

It's not the first time the coronavirus outbreak has been used by scammers to target people.

Yesterday, we revealed that a new attack known as "scareware" is taking advantage of widespread fear about the virus to scam victims.

Malware and ransomware attacks are said to be increasing as people are searching online for COVID-19.

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Scientists have produced a day-by-day breakdown of the typical Covid-19 symptoms

In other news, Instagram has banned dangerous, reckless and insensitive coronavirus filters.

We recently debunked some of the most outrageous coronavirus conspiracy theories.

And, Android users are being warned about a new "cookie bug" created by hackers.

What are your thoughts on this scam? Let us know in the comments…

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