There is a fake SMS message that falsely claims to offer an app that allows users to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in India. However, once installed on a mobile device, the app is designed to spread malware via SMS messages rather than providing a legitimate way to register for the vaccination. The malicious app was initially known as COVID-19, but it was later renamed following an update. Attackers may persuade users to instal the application because many people have had trouble registering for the COVID-19 vaccine through the official CoWIN portal.
ESET malware researcher Lukas Stefanko tweeted the SMS message requesting users to download the app for COVID-19 registration. According to the researcher, the message is intended for Indian users and appears to be ‘COVID-19 free vaccine registration.’
According to the researcher, the SMS message contains a link to a worm app that spreads primarily via SMS to victim contacts via a link to the malware download. The app also gains unnecessary permissions, which attackers could exploit to steal user data.
Although the application was originally known as COVID-19, it has since been renamed the Vaccine Register and has received a light mode in order to reach even more devices in the future. Dual SIM connectivity has also been discovered to be supported. This allows the malware to spread through the device’s first available operator.
Users are strongly advised to avoid SMS messages that contain links to apps for download. It should also be noted that COVID-19 vaccine registrations are currently only available through the CoWIN portal, Aarogya Setu, and Umang apps.
There are, however, third-party websites where you can be notified when a jab slot becomes available. The government has also made it possible for the MyGov Corona Helpdesk chatbot to locate a COVID-19 vaccination facility near you.
Last week, the government extended the country’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout by accepting registrations from people aged 18 to 44. Previously, people aged 45 and up could register for vaccines.
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