Think before click: COVID-19 apps like ‘Spymax’ may steal your data

16

BY RAJNISH SINGH
New Delhi, April 17 (IANS)
As many people have started work from home and students log in for studies following lockdown to counter coronavirus, the Cyber Coordination Centre (CCC) of the Home Ministry has red-flagged about cyber criminals using COVID-19 apps such as ‘Spymax, Corona Live 1.1’ to steal confidential data.
“Beware of frauds in the name of coronavirus”, the cyber wing said, adding that “some cyber fraudsters are circulating a malware link about the so-called coronavirus app like Spymax, Corona Live 1.1 etc”.
As per the warning, these apps steal confidential data from the receiver’s phone or computer when opened. “Sometimes, cyber criminals are also taking advantage of rising coronavirus concerns for collecting charity,” says Cyber Dost, Cyber-safety and Cybersecurity awareness Twitter handle of CCC maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Floated by the MHA back in March 2018, the cyber wing also advises people to be aware of KYC or remote app frauds and advises “never download any app like Quicksupport, Anydesk or Teamviewer etc for KYC completion”.
“Such apps give remote access to your devices, which allows fraudsters to know your PIN, OTP and bank account details for committing fraud.”
It suggests that KYC can only be conducted at authorised KYC points or by authorised representative at the customer doorstep.
The public safety handle also cautions people against sharing personal details on SMS or phone, in case one receives any SMS stating that his or her account will get blocked if KYC is not completed. “Contact customer care of the bank or ewallet or service provider for clarification,” it says.
When asked about compalaints being made about such frauds, sources in Home Ministry could not give a precise number, but warned that there is need to be extra cautious.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared a 21-day countrywide lockdown on March 24 to break the chain of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic transmission. He later extended the lockdown period till May 3 in another announcement on April 14.
As people have started working from their homes and almost all the official meetings are being held online, the Home Ministry with the help of Cyber Dost and other means of communication has been trying to make people aware about the possibility of online fraud.
With the help of Cyber Dost, one of the major platforms of the Home Ministry, it advised people on how to keep their personal and financial details safe while using them online. The account, marked as a cyber-safety and cybersecurity awareness handle, has close to 117.8K followers. The handle covers topics ranging from safe online banking to identitying theft and even measures to ensure safe internet usage for children.
The Cyber Dost handle also directs victims of cyber crimes towards the correct channels to file their complaints.
People can post their queries on its feed and get an answer about a suitable course of action.
In a similar warning, the Home Ministry on April 12 issued an advisory suggesting people that the well-known Zoom video conferencing app for meetings is not a safe platform.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@ians.in)