Beware of SMS with fake Covid-19 vaccine app link

Beware of SMS with fake Covid-19 vaccine registration app download link

The fake Covid-19 vaccine registration app link takes to third-party website and asks the user to download the malware-laced app to Android phones.

India is grappling with the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, which is far more devastating than the first wave in mid-2020. So far, more than 2 Crore people have been infected in India and active cases now stand at 37.47 lakh. 

Thousands of people have succumbed to the infections, while millions are struggling to recover and others are facing shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, and medical supplies.
While many struggling to cope up with the trauma, a group of threat actors, are misusing the situation to make quick bucks.

Lukas Stefanko, malware researcher at ESET has reported that the hackers are sending random SMSs to random Android phone users in India with a link to a fake Covid-19 Vaccine registration app. Once installed, the Trojan-laced app asks for critical security permission to read to messages and also a contact list. This will help the bad actors to target more people.


Fake Covid-19 app is being circulated via SMS on the Android platform. Credit: Lukas Stefanko, ESET Malware Researcher/Twitter

Also, the hacker group has released a new lite variant app for low-end phones with bare minimum hardware. 

There are no immediate cases of people losing money or any sensitive information, but these hackers are likely to make coordinated attacks in one go to affect millions of people across wide regions.

Android phone users have been advised not to install any app directly from a website. Only download from Google Play Store and also make sure to read the reviews below the description of the app. They always show tell-tale signs of whether the app is genuine or not. It also sheds light on app developers. 

Always make sure the app, particularly related to Covid-19 information and other critical health information delivery services is developed by government agencies of the respective countries only. 

Also, it is a good practice to install a good anti-virus application on your Android phone.

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