Shortage of vaccine supply, almost all vaccinations slots booked, people are now desperate to look for a time and place where they can get a jab against the novel Coronavirus. Some miscreants are trying to take advantage of this as some fake vaccine registration apps under the name of CoWIN have surfaced. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has warned people about these fake apps. In an advisory issued, the team noted that these apps are being spread via SMS.
According to CERT-In, the messages supporting the claim of fake apps offer users to register for COVID-19 vaccines in India. The message content may differ from each other, however, these messages will ask Android phone users to download APK files to install the registration apps. There are five APKs in total that are malicious and people are advised not to download.
Five APKs are Covid-19.apk, Vccin-Apply.apk, Cov-Regis.apk, Vaci__Regis.apk, and MyVaccin_v2.apk. The SMS are being sent with these malicious links. They also use the victim’s contacts to spread the messages further. The regulator also warned of app requesting certain permissions which will allow attackers to leverage the personal information.
These fake apps are phishing attempts that can steal users’ passwords and other personal information. Therefore, CERT-In has warned people to stay clear of these fake domains, emails or text messages and phone calls which falsely claim registration of Covid-19 vaccines. To be sure, there is only one government portal- cowin.gov.in that provides authentic data and slots for vaccine registration.
Everyone over the age of 18 in India is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection after their registration digitally on the CoWIN portal or via the Aarogya Setu app. Apart from this, there are some third party vaccine trackers that help people find vaccine slots. However, these apps/ websites only provide slot updates, so that people can register themselves on the official website.