Phishing attacks in name of Aarogya Setu app increasing: CERT-in

CERT-In said the name of the WHO was also being impersonated.

May 16, 2020 06:33 pm | Updated June 11, 2020 02:53 pm IST - New Delhi:

Representational image.

Representational image.

Phishing attacks in the name of Aarogya Setu mobile application are witnessing a “high rise” as online scamsters are taking advantage of the increased inquisitiveness of internet users during the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic, India’s cyber security agency said on Saturday.

It said attackers are also impersonating tools linked to the World Health Organisation and popular video-conferencing platforms sucha as Zoom to steal sensitive data.

Aarogya Setu app mandatory for travel on 15 special trains: Railways

“Aarogya Setu app-focussed phishing have seen high rise. Scamsters impersonate as HR department, CEO, or any other known person and target users by spreading messages like ‘your neighbour is affected’, ‘see who all are affected’, ‘someone who came in contact with you tested positive’, ‘recommendations to self-isolate’, ‘guidelines to use Aarogya Setu’ among others,” the CERT-In said in a latest advisory accessed by PTI .

The Aarogya Setu application uses bluetooth and GPS to alert users who may have encountered people who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Phishing denotes to the cyber term of luring and cheating an internet user through a fake SMS or email and thereby breaching their privacy to steal sensitive information.

Watch | How does the Aarogya Setu app work?

“In recent trends, threat actors are taking advantage of pandemic situation to trick the users to give up their sensitive information by taking advantage of the interest associated with recent novel coronavirus activities, news, and information,” the advisory said.

The Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) is the national technology arm to combat cyber attacks and guarding of the Indian cyber space.

It said cyber attackers (threat actors) impersonate popular video platforms sucha as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Aarogya Setu app and WHO to send phishing messages through SMS (smishing), WhatsApp (whishing) or phishing emails to steal identities and engage in other nefarious activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Ministry launches Aarogya Setu IVRS facility for those without smartphones

The cyber attackers, it said, are using fake domains to impersonate popular apps to first lure the victims and then send them links such as “relief package”, “safety tips during corona”, “corona testing kit”, “corona vaccine”, “payment and donation during corona”.

It said the name of the WHO was also being impersonated. “Cyber criminals are sending phishing emails impersonating WHO and e-mails appear to be originating from the domain of WHO. Such e-mails may contain malicious file and URLs (universal resource locators),” it said.

The cyber agency suggested come counter-measures to check this online menace: Beware about the domain, spelling errors in emails, websites and un-familiar email senders; check the integrity of URLs before providing login credentials or clicking a link and do not submit personal information to unknown and unfamiliar websites.

Today’s cache | Security issue in Aarogya Setu app, and more

It said users should exercise caution and avoid clicking dubious URLs providing special offers such as winning prize, rewards, cashback offers and they practice safe browsing tools, filtering tools their anti-virus and use a proper firewall.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.