Fake Coronavirus Apps: Protecting Yourself Online
FAKE CORONAVIRUS APPSPROTECTING YOURSELF ONLINE From holding your breath each morning for 10 seconds, to drinking more water to stave off infection; these are the ‘at home’ ways you can test to see if you have coronavirus being touted on the internet. We now know that the post in question, shared hundreds of thousands of times via Facebook, claiming to be from a Harvard (or Stanford) professor is fake. But that hasn’t stopped other, more sophisticated scam artists from taking advantage of this global health crisis. While we protect ourselves, our health workers and other people by staying at home we find ourselves online far more than usual, with our mobile devices often being exposed to cyber threats and attacks.
Fake Andriod AppsIn fact, news outlets are reporting a recent surge in fake COVID-19 and coronavirus apps targeting Android devices. Third party mobile app developers have started using coronavirus related keywords to rank higher in Google Play store searches, making it seem that the apps have more credibility. Cybersecurity experts have warned about these fake Android apps that once installed, can steal your contacts and private messages. The app claims it can notify users when anyone infected with the virus is nearby. In reality the app contains dangerous ransomware that allows it to read users’ contacts and even send text messages in an effort to spread itself to more people. If installed, the app asks the user to click a button that will lead them to an online portal that claims to sell PPE masks. The danger here is that the malware could ask the user to pay online for the mask and steal any credit card information.
We’ve created a handy list to of ways you can protect yourself online:
- Install apps only from official stores such as Google Play and the App Store
- Before downloading apps, do some research online, read the reviews, check out the app installation page – does it seem credible?
- Always keep ‘Unknown Sources’ option disabled on your Android device This disallows apps to be installed on your device from unknown sources.
- Never trust apps with unrealistic claims. Currently there is no technology that can inform a user whether a coronavirus patient is nearby.
- Never click unknown links received through ads, text messages, or email
- If you come across an app that is making unrealistic claims about coronavirus – report it!