Fake Vaccination Apps Lure People Into Installing Malware On Their Devices

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of people’s anxiety related to COVID-19 vaccine and their heavy dependence on digital devices. So much so, that 2021 is turning out to be a year of 'malware misinformation and sneak attacks'. Now’s the time to take necessary steps and prevent ourselves against malware attacks

Fake Vaccination Apps Lure People Into Installing Malware On Their Devices

Cybercriminals sure know how to feast on the fears of people. And, this time, when the world is anxious about the novel Coronavirus and when they can get vaccinated, cybercriminals are targeting unsuspecting people with malicious apps, bogus social media invites and SMSs.

Cybersecurity company MacAfee states in its report that India and Chile are amongst the top countries that are targeted by cybercriminals with their core weapon being malware and fake apps promising COVID-19 vaccinations.

Numbers Speak For Themselves
McAfee states that by the end of December 2020, the total Malware had reached 43 million

As per the latest report from McAfee, out of the total 13217228 detections, 887,458 belong to India

Modus Operandi of The Malware Attack

As per the same report, users are sent Whatsapp messages and SMSs that lure them into downloading apps from Google Play Store. Once downloaded, the malware installs on a user’s device. This malware could do a huge monetary blow to the user since it can steal banking information or sign up for premium subscriptions and services and make hefty purchases that are ultimately charged from a user’s account.

The worst part is that this malware can also extend itself to everyone in the victim’s contact list via WhatsApp or SMS.

It’s not just India or Chile which is being targeted by bad actors, another malware infamously known as Etinu is targeting users in Southwest Asia and the Middle East and was known to be distributed via Google Play Store. Using a notification function, it reads SMS of unsuspecting users and then steals their details, including their banking details.

The need of the hour is to practice caution when downloading apps. As Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist puts it –

“We‘ve seen how the pandemic not only led to an increased dependence on mobile devices but how it has prompted bad actors into developing new ways of tricking consumers and stealing their personal data. As well as these advanced forms of malware and deceit, we’ve seen that hackers are also returning to billing scams, but using new tricks ” “As consumers continue to carry out daily activities on the go, it is critical that they stay educated and proactive about protecting their personal data,”

How Can You Stop A Malware Attack

Or even mitigate any further damages if malware has struck your device

Malware is a worldwide issue and can extend to any part of the world. The aim of this blog is not to scare you but to arm you with knowledge with the help of which you can safeguard yourself against a malware attack. Now, since the malware in discussion mainly sends social media invites and bogus SMS, WhatsApp texts to download fake Google Play Store apps, here we’ll give you some powerful tips to steer clear from falling prey to any such trap. Here’s how you can protect your computer from Malware.

Don’t Click On Bogus Texts

Immaterial of whether you have received the text regarding COVID-19 vaccination as a forward on WhatsApp or have received it via an invite or SMS, you should at all cost avoid clicking on any suspicious-looking link, leave alone clicking on it and then downloading the app. Another thing that should immediately ring a bell is that even the Government of India would never use a private number to send texts.

Download Apps Directly From Google Play Store Or From Government’s Official Website

Cowin App

For registering for vaccination, you can either visit the official website of your country’s government. In India, it is https://cowin.gov.in (it could be different in your country) or visit the official app from Google Play Store only. Both the apps – Aarogya Setu and CoWin that help users with registration for COVID -19 vaccines are available on the Play Store. Similarly, iOS users should only install these apps from the App Store.

Don’t Click On Suspicious Links

Even if a link looks genuine in the text, you should verify it from your country’s government’s original website

Download A Mobile Security App

Keeping a reliable security app on your mobile will prove to be a lifesaver in plenty of situations, be it clicking on a suspicious link in haste or surfing the web that might open the gates for the malware to enter your phone. For this purpose, our recommendation is Smart Phone Cleaner, which can comprehensively optimize and safeguard your Android mobile or tablet from digital debris and other vulnerabilities.

Here are some of its most significant features –

smart phone cleaner

  • Scans mobile for all kinds of malicious content – malware, adware, spyware, trojans, and many others.
  • Real-time protection is offered against all kinds of malicious apps and sites (Registered version).
  • You can schedule a malware scan daily or weekly.
  • It makes sure that no harmful app is installed on your phone.
  • Noticeable boost to your mobile’s performance, thanks to all the cleaning and optimization modules it offers.
  • It even comes with a Game Speedup module to enhance your Android gaming performance and overall experience.

Click Here To Install Smart Phone Cleaner!

 If you have unsuspectedly clicked on a malicious link, here are some steps you can undertake to stop any further damage in its tracks.

Closing Words

Whether it is during the pandemic or after, we as users of digital mediums need to be extremely careful and educated about what we are downloading on our devices. It is, but understandable that the pandemic has created anxiety but we should cautiously exercise our wisdom and not fall prey to such things. We hope that the above blog will help you in that regard.

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