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Indian cyber agency warns Android users about fake COVID-19 vaccine registration message

The COVID-19 vaccine registration message is not only fake but also gains illegal access to a user's Android phone.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | May 11, 2021 | Updated 10:13 IST
Courtesy: Lukas Stefanko

Highlights

  • A fake COVID vaccine registration SMS has been doing the rounds.
  • The message comes with a link which can compromise usersí contact list.
  • The message that is being sent with a nefarious intention by cybercriminals has been found in five variants.

With people struggling to book vaccination slots in India, a new message which claims to offer registration through an app is in circulation. However, it turns out that the message is not authentic and comes with a malicious link. When you click on the link, an app that is extremely harmful particularly for Android users gets downloaded to your device. The Cybersecurity agency in India has issued a warning about the same. The message that is being circulated by cybercriminals has been found in five variants.

Warning citizens about the same, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or CERT-In said in an advisory, "It has been reported that a fake SMS message is in circulation that falsely claims to offer an app to let users register for COVID-19 vaccine in India. The SMS carries a link that installs the malicious app on Android-based devices, which essentially spreads itself via SMS to victims' contacts."

Not too long ago, it was reported that a fake message that is in circulation claims to let users register for the COVID-19 vaccine in India through an app. However, the so-called app is basically malware, which gets installed in your device automatically if you click on the link that is provided with the message.

The attackers have made the message look convincing and used the perfect time and opportunity to dupe the users. Earlier, malware researcher, Luke Stefanko had tweeted about the malicious message that has been doing the rounds in India. "SMS worm impersonates Covid-19 vaccine free registration. Android SMS worm tries to spread via text messages as fake free registration for Covid-19 vaccine - targets India It can spread itself via SMS to victim contacts with a link to download this malware."

The researcher had notified users that the worm app gets installed in a user's phone and spreads itself through the user's contact list. The app or malware is also capable of gaining illegal access to a person's sensitive information. It is being reported that the app was initially named COVID-19, but later the name was changed Vaccine Register.

It is important to note that vaccine registration can only be done on Cowin website or the Aarogya Setu app. Do not click on any link that comes along with a message that claims to provide COVID-19 vaccine registration.

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