Updated March 17th, 2020 at 14:02 IST

Attempts to hack website publishing Coronavirus stats raise new concerns over cyber-attack

Attempts have been made to hack a website that publishes statistics on Coronavirus. A platform called 'Worldometer' which charts the details has been hit twice.

Digital Desk
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Attempts have been made to hack a website that publishes statistics on Coronavirus. A platform called 'Worldometer' which charts the details of the cases from around the globe has been hit twice. It says it will continue with its efforts however, questions arise about the consequences of online threats.

Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. While most of the countries are trying to fathom the depth of the problem they are in, new challenges keep emerging. One such problem is to deal with fake information or fake news. During elections in the US and UK, there was a huge discussion around the generation and dissemination of false statistics which the political parties have fought tooth and nail. They accused each other of spreading malicious content. But an attempt to hack a website related to information on the spread of the virus has left everyone in a tizzy.

'The other day we got it with a big DDoS attack'

Worldometer is owned by a company based in Shanghai. Recently the website claimed to have experienced disruptions for more about 20 minutes. It said that their platform showed incorrect data related to the spread of Coronavirus globally. Releasing a statement the website said, ''We apologise for the temporary disservice that you may have experienced. For about 20 minutes, our site showed clearly incorrect data due to a malicious act. We have investigated the issue and we are now implementing protective measures to prevent this from happening again. The other day we got it with a big DDoS attack.''

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DDoS stands from distributed denial of service. In simple words, it is a cyber-attack in which the attacker disrupts the services provided by a website. The website might show data as unavailable for a certain period of time. Depending on the access to the hacker(s), one might also come across false data or statistics on a website. A common user would have no idea while relying on the information from the platform.

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Run by researchers and volunteers, Worldometer claims to have resolved the issue for the time being. In its statement, it also said that it ''will continue'' with its ''daily efforts'' and ''not give it up''. However, the spread of the incorrect information and attempts of hacking at a time when the governments across the globe are struggling to keep people updated would be a serious concern for many.

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Published March 17th, 2020 at 14:02 IST

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