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Fake Covid-19 apps fish in the troubled waters

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Some map-based applications that trace the path of the virus across the globe could end up infecting a user’s phone with a virus, the digital kind that is. Spam documents that offer information about the virus through emails and message attachments are also increasing, cyber security firms said.
 

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Mumbai | Pune: Web and mobile applications that track the spread of the Covid-19 virus outbreak are also loading ransomware trojans and trackers to snoop on users, according to cyber security firms. For instance, some map-based applications that trace the path of the virus across the globe could end up infecting a user’s phone with a virus, the digital kind that is. Spam documents that offer information about the virus through emails and message attachments are also increasing, the firms said.

 

Information security provider ZScaler said that hackers were now floating applications on the internet that claim to notify a user as soon as anyone infected with the virus is nearby. What such apps do instead is lock out the user and ask for ransoms to unlock their device.
 

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“There are also apps that tell you where you can go and buy an N-95 mask. These are all hoaxes – the moment a user downloads such an app it will corrupt your smartphone or laptop and may ask for a ransom to unlock it,” said Sudip Banerjee, director, Transformation Strategy – Asia Pacific and Japan at Zscaler.

 

 

IT security company Lookout also found a ‘Corona live 1.1’ Android application which is a Trojanised version of the legitimate “corona live” app that allows users to get updated with data found on Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker.
 

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“Upon first launch, the app informs the user it does not require special access, but subsequently proceeds to request access to photos, media, files, device location,” said Security Research Engineer Kristin Del Rosso of Lookout.

 

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