Since the vaccination process has started all over the globe, people are registering themselves to schedule the date for vaccination using certain apps like Arogya Setu. but not all apps are authenticated and safe. It has been observed that many of these fake apps are forcing people to register through these fake APK files. The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has warned users regarding the fake apps they also have issued an advisory of fake Cowin vaccine registration apps. It has also been said that a link carrying SMS is sent that directly installs the malicious app on Android-based devices.
“The app essentially spreads itself via SMS to victims’ contacts. The app also gains unnecessary permissions that attackers could leverage to acquire user data such as contact list,” CERT-In said. Scammers are using multiple variants of SMSs to trap citizens into their fishy net.
“The app gains unnecessary permissions that attackers could leverage to acquire user data such as contact list,” the cited source said.
They have also advised the citizens to beware of these duplicate apps as they could steal their personal information containing passwords and other data.
Following are some of the APK files that are being circulated- Covid-19.apk, vaci_regis.apk, myvaccine_v2.apk, cov-regis.apk, vaccine-apply.apk.
Another thing to keep in mind that, none of these links or APKs directly link you to the google play store or apple store to download. These APK links directly download on your without asking for permission and no authenticated apps directly get installed on your phone, in case you want to download an app you have to search it for in the google play store. It seeks your permission for the further process but nothing like that happens in these APKs.
Apart from this for the covid-19 registration process, one can go with Arogya Setu or governmental portals which can be accessed through cowin.gov.in.
Moreover, there are some vaccine tracking apps that help people in finding their slots.
However, these apps/ websites only provide slot updates, so that people can register themselves on the official website.