Government Warns Citizens About Fake Oximeter Apps

Every initiative on the internet does not have to come from an authorised source. This is precisely why online users need to be extremely cautious about the apps they download on their phone. In recent times, Oximeter apps of fraudulent nature have increased on the internet. Cybercriminals are misusing the current pandemic situation to cash on people’s fear regarding their oxygen levels.

An Oximeter application assists a user in keeping track of blood SpO2 levels and heartbeat count. It provides the breathable oxygen percentage based on the altitude. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, these apps have become famous in recent times.

The Indian government has alerted citizens to not download any Oximeter app on their mobile phone from mysterious URLs. This alert was made through Cyber Dost, which is the safety and cybersecurity awareness handle on Twitter. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, maintains Cyber Dost.

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Oximeter apps which are fake claims to check the oxygen levels in a user’s body; on the flip side, they steal the personal data of a user which is saved on his or her mobile phone. Here, personal data include contacts, photographs, etc. These fake apps could also steal the biometric information of a user by requesting the user’s biometric prints for using the app.

Earlier, this cybersecurity handle had intimated users not to install any payment applications using links which were sent to them via SMS, email, or social media. Cybercriminals are currently using COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to target online users with fake applications and links to steal their personal information. Even though app stores comprise a process for checking an app’s authenticity, there are several ways by which fake applications could still get through.

Users have to be watchful about which apps they use and what kind of permission they grant while using these apps. As an alternative to Oximeter apps, people can consider using Oximeters to monitor their oxygen saturation.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at bhavana.pn@cleartax.in

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