Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Registration SMS: What Is It, How To Stay Safe And More


While a majority of people are waiting to take their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and looking out for information pertaining to the same, there is a rise in malicious elements that make use of the situation. Well, security researchers have shed light on 'SMS Worm', a new threat that is designed to trick people and install malware on their Android devices in the disguise of a COVID-19 vaccine registration app.


Fake COVID-19 Vaccine SMS: What Is It, How To Stay Safe And More

What Is SMS Worm?

The SMS Worm was first spotted by Lukas Stefano, a malware researcher, and was confirmed by Cyble, a cyber risk assessment firm. It is claimed that it works by sending text messages to potential victims, The SMS will have a link to a website that will download an executable code on the unsuspicious users' devices when they click on it. Eventually, the hackers can initiate a range of attacks including unauthorized activities that will put the victims' personal data at risk.

Also, the SMS worm is touted to send a copy of itself to the contacts in the device automatically, thereby causing a chain of attacks without the knowledge of the victims.

Fake COVID-19 Vaccine SMS

The government of India initiated the largest vaccination drive in the country to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Initially, it was available only for people aged 60 years and was later rolled out to those above 45 years. From May 1, 2021, the government has started making vaccines available for people in the age group 18 to 44.

There are many ways to register for the COVID-19 vaccination. However, this has become an opportunity for hackers as they can take advantage of the existing situation with the help of malicious elements. As a result, we have the SMS Worm that has the potential to trigger a chain of attacks, thereby posing a threat to many who are eager to take up the vaccination.


Talking about the fake COVID-19 vaccine registration SMS, you think twice before clicking on any link, especially those that come from unknown sources. Remember that if you are eligible to get the vaccine, then you register for it only via the CoWIN app or website, Aarogya Setu app or UMANG app. These are the official portals or apps from the government.

However, the shortage in vaccination production and the huge demand for it have hampered the availability of slots. This is where some third-party apps and websites created by several developers come to your rescue. These websites or tools notify you when there are slots available for you to take your dose.

How To Stay Safe From Cyber Attacks?

At a time when cyber-criminals are churning out thousands of coronavirus-related websites and apps due to the increase in search of information for common terms such coronavirus, covid, or vaccine, it is important that we stay vigilant and use only genuine sources. A large number of these websites and tools are malicious and host phishing attacks, distribute malware or scams. The whole idea is to trick unsuspecting people into sharing their credit/debit card information or make a purchase of fake products claimed to cure the infection.

Also, Cyble mentions that to stay safe, it is important to keep the device and apps updated, use strong passwords, set up two-factor authentication wherever possible and verify the permissions before granting access to apps.

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