HomeNewsBeware of Aarogya Setu Contact Tracing App clones

Beware of Aarogya Setu Contact Tracing App clones

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Aarogya Setu app, India’s contact tracing app for Covid-19, has become the latest government-backed app to be threatened by cybercriminals who have developed clones to steal data from users.

According to Sonic Wall Labs, a California-based cybersecurity firm, there have been several cloned malware apps masquerading as the legitimate Aarogya Setu app that maliciously infects user’s smartphones.

The cloned apps were designed to install monitoring malware on infected smartphones and to steal sensitive data, including banking and login details. With the legitimate Aarogya Setu having recorded about 10 million downloads since its launch in April, the clones are most likely to hit about two hundred thousand downloads.

How Does Aarogya Setu Contact Tracing App Clone Apps Work?

The Regional Sales VP – of Sonic Wall Labs, Asia Pacific, Debashish Mukherjee, in a statement, said that the malware, once downloaded on smartphones, can record audio, send SMS, and make calls, also, without granted permission. The malware app can be launched each time the infected device is rebooted.

He continued by saying, “The method of installing the Aarogya Setu app running in the background remains common, but threat actors exploit this method to deceive victims into thinking they are using the legitimate application while using the malicious app to execute functions in the background.”

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The researchers explained that the attack on the contact tracing app is not peculiar to India alone, after identifying about 12 COVID-19 contact tracing apps around the world with cloned contact tracing apps. For instance, countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, Russia and a host of others as contained in a release.

How Does Aarogya Setu Contact Tracing App Clone Apps Work?

How To Identify A Real Contact Tracing App

  • The fake app is armed with the Aarogya Setu icon, which, on closer evaluation, appears stretched to deceive users into believing they are downloading the legitimate app.
  • The security research firm says that “Most fake apps have poorly written reviews and comments, which is one of the signs that you are on the wrong app.”
  • Downloads from unofficial sources should be deleted while running an antivirus scan to detect any hidden infections on your device. If you cannot delete the app after installation, perform a factory reset on your device to get rid of the threat.

Aarogya Setu Contact Tracing App: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Aarogya Setu App?

Aarogya Setu is a mobile app developed by the Indian government to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It uses contact tracing technology to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

How Does Aarogya Setu Work?

The app uses Bluetooth technology to exchange anonymous digital tokens with nearby phones. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to anonymously notify others who have been in close contact through the app. This allows those potentially exposed individuals to get tested and self-isolate, potentially preventing further spread of the virus.

What is the meaning of Arogya Setu?

“Aarogya” means “health” in Sanskrit and Hindi, and “Setu” means “bridge.” So, Aarogya Setu translates to “bridge to health.”

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What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease by coming into close contact with someone who is infected. Traditionally, this involves public health officials interviewing infected individuals to determine who they have been in contact with.

What are the Benefits of Contact Tracing?

  • Helps Slow the Spread: By identifying and notifying potentially exposed individuals, contact tracing can help break the chain of transmission and slow the spread of the virus.
  • Early Detection and Isolation: Early notification allows potentially exposed individuals to get tested and isolate themselves if necessary, preventing them from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
  • Informs Public Health Efforts: Contact tracing data can be valuable for public health officials to understand transmission patterns and allocate resources effectively.

Hope you find this helpful?

Note: This was initially published in June 2020, but has been updated for freshness and accuracy.


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