World coronavirus dispatch: Govt-backed hacking on the rise amid pandemic

A security personnel checks a passenger's ticket at the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport in Lucknow on Monday, May 25, 2020. Photo: PTI
Google has said it is seeing an increase in phishing attacks at a time when the world is distracted from the coronavirus situation. These seem to be government-backed hacking attempts, often directed at healthcare establishments and healthcare data. Google’s Threat Analysis Group said it saw new activity from “hack-for-hire” firms, many based in India, that were creating Gmail accounts spoofing the WHO. These accounts largely targeted business leaders in financial services, consulting and healthcare corporations in numerous countries, including the US, Slovenia, Canada, India, Bahrain, Cyprus and UK, the company said in a blog post.

Let’s look at the global statistics

Total confirmed cases: 5,593,148

Change over previous day: 102,142

Total deaths: 355,692

Total recovered: 2,351,355

Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,699,933), Brazil (411,821), Russia (370,680), the UK (268,619) and Spain (236,259).


US death toll surpasses 100,000: Just over four months after the government confirmed the first known case, more than 100,000 people who had coronavirus infections have died in the US. The toll exceeds the number of US military combat fatalities in every conflict since the Korean War. It matches the toll in the US of the 1968 flu pandemic, and it is approaching the 116,000 killed in another flu outbreak a decade before that.

Boeing will axe 12,000 more US workers: Boeing plans to dismiss more than 12,000 workers in the US. The jet manufacturer will deliver involuntary lay-off notices to 6,770 employees this week. Another 5,520 employees applied and were accepted for voluntary lay-offs in exchange for severance packages. The company is also reducing its workforce outside the US, with more than 630 departures announced in Australia, New Zealand and Canada so far.

Disney to open two more theme parks in July: The company Disney expects to open its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom resorts in Orlando, Florida, on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on the 15th.

Masks helped keep Japan’s death toll low, experts say: Obsessive mask-wearing is one reason why Japan has avoided the heavy coronavirus death tolls, a government panel on the pandemic says. As of Wednesday, Japan had confirmed more than 16,000 infections and about 850 deaths from the virus.

Colombia will ease restrictions from June: Sectors like retail and non-Covid-related medical care can begin normalising gradually once the lockdown ends, but large events, bars and nightclubs will continue to be closed. Restaurants will be open for takeaway orders only. Colombia has 24,000 cases of covid-19.


How the pandemic in US compares with rest of world: Testing was slow to start in the US, but ramped up. The country has conducted about 15 million tests so far, or about 4.5 per cent of the population.

20 new charts about how the coronavirus has changed our behaviour: These illustrations depict the new coronavirus’ effects on basic metrics such as gross domestic product and unemployment, the collapse in demand for fuel, the rapid adoption of telehealth, and the surge in liquor purchases. This is a new economy built on fear.

Wanted in Hollywood — Covid-19 consultants to help keep sets safe: The coronavirus pandemic has prompted producers, movie studios and workers’ unions to seek expert advice on how to safely reopen film and TV sets, which shut down worldwide in mid-March. In demand are epidemiologists and other public health specialists to provide detailed strategies for dealing with large crews who work in cramped spaces, makeup artists who get face-to-face with stars, and actors who kiss, hug and fight on set.

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