By Charles Miller
At the risk of repeating information that appeared in this column only two weeks ago, I wish to provide an update. There is a lot of fake news floating around on the Internet, and it is all too easy to find your way to it by accident. In this week’s column I want to provide some suggestions on how to find important and trustworthy information sources.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began there have been tens of thousands of domains registered by cybercriminals for the purpose of spreading misinformation about it or to commit outright fraud. A very old example of a deceptive domain is the now defunct tvviter.com, because the “vv” looks like a “w” a lot of people were fooled. The best defense against this is to type in addresses yourself rather than clicking on links. You should NEVER EVER click on links in emails. When you type the address you are sure to notice that twitter is not spelled tvviter.
A lot of people are downloading and installing coronavirus related apps on their smart phones. Many of these apps conceal malware, so you should be extremely careful to investigate any app you install. More on this later.
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) updates its home page in real time to reflect the total number of confirmed cases and people tested, as well as the number of recovered. Their official address is, who.int
The website for the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a lot of primary source information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC web site includes a list of trustworthy smart phone apps. Their address is, www.cdc.gov
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a smart phone app that provides important notifications concerning emergencies and outbreaks. Type in, www.fema.gov
The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University provides what many people consider the best map data about the current state of the worldwide pandemic. Go to, https://tinyurl.com/uwns6z5
Closer to home, the state of Guanajuato publishes up-to-date statistics on its web page: coronavirus.guanajuato.gob.mx
An extremely talented high school student, Avi Schiffmann, created a very impressive site that aggregates several official sources, including the CDC and WHO at, ncov2019.live
On April 10, 2020, Apple and Google announced a joint project that is still under development to identify, document, and follow up on cases of COVID-19 via smart phone apps. Large parts of the world’s population carry smart phones, so the ability to trace the path of an outbreak could be a powerful tool for protecting public health. There are privacy concerns about the app, of course. The first version, expected to be released in May or June, may be too late for the current pandemic but could be available to combat the next flu season.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.