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Fake vaccine registration app surfaces on web space to dupe people

01:40 AM May 31, 2021 | Priyanka Navalkar

Amid the mass Covid vaccination drive for the people aged between 18 and 44 years, a fake application has surfaced on the web space, which is a malicious link filled with Android Worm that reaches users via message app, asking to register with the ‘Vaccine Registration’ app. The Cyber police have urged the citizens to use the official registration platform CoWIN API to complete the formalities.

At a time when the registration and slot booking on the CoWIN app has become a tedious task due to the shortage of vaccines, a fake app on the link has made its way to infect the victim's mobile device and gain access to contacts, photos and other media files, making the user vulnerable to the frauds. A senior Cyber official said that while other apps and links are available to notify the slot availability according to the region and age group, such apps are a hoax and spell shady business.

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The official said that once the user downloads the app, it requests permission to access all the contacts and messages. The worm then uses the contacts listed in the infected Android device to spread to other devices via text messages.

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"To ensure that one is safe from fake mobile apps, avoid clicking on unknown links shared on social media platforms, even if shared by your trusted contacts. The user should always check an app’s description before downloading it from the play store and check the app developer’s website. One should always avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores," the official added.

Explaining the modus operandi, Sanjay Shintre, Superintendent of Police (Maharashtra Cyber) said that since AADHAAR number is linked with the bank account, it becomes easier for the fraudster to get the bank account details and empty it subsequently. A number of netizens received e-mails, messages offering quick and easy registration to get the vaccination done without a queue. In this e-mail, there would be a malicious link that after a user clicks, they are redirected to a website with the app-link, which would seek the AADHAAR card number to continue with the registration and seek a One Time Password (OTP) to complete it.

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