COVID-19: Fake News

The spread of disinformation and misinformation around #COVID19 has potentially harmful consequences for public health and effective crisis communication. Stay vigilant and only trust information from official accounts!


Websites with fake news about COVID-19 or posing as charities are easily shared on social media. But these bogus websites can do more than just spread misinformation. By asking you to create an account or log in, they gain access to your personal information and can even infect your device with malware.

What can I do? 

  • Don’t trust information that does not come from official sources (e.g. local government, official medical entities).
  • Don’t spread unofficial information further. As a rule of thumb: if you can’t verify it from at least two other sources, then do not share it.
  • If a website asks you to fill in your personal or financial information (either through pop-up windows or a login form), think twice before doing so.
  • Research before donating to charities. The WHO has a dedicated page for this.
  • Use a browser that allows you to block pop-up windows.

How can I recognise them?

  • Fake websites will often include text that suggests a sense of urgency.
  • They are often poorly designed or only have one well-designed page.
  • Pop-up windows are commonly used to gather your information.


There are currently several maps circulating online claiming to display live information on the spread of COVID-19. Some of them can be accesses in browsers and some come as downloadable apps.  Be wary of both and always check official sources – your national authorities, the WHO, ECDC and academic institutions all provide national and global statistics. 

What are the risks?

  • If you download an app like this, you can infect your devices with mobile malware. 
  • The malware might infect your device and could take control over your files or even lock the entire device. This is called ransomware. 

What can I do? 

  • Stick to the official statistics, like the live WHO dashboard.  
  • Always check what permissions an app requires. 
  • Research the app and its publishers carefully before downloading and check user reviews.
  • If your device is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom. A free decryptor may be available on No More Ransom – a Europol-backed project.