Health Ministry issues alert for fake Co-WIN apps that may misuse user data

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 6 cautioned people against fake CoWIN (COVID Intelligence Network) app on app stores. The CoWIN app which will be needed to register to get the Covid-19 vaccine in the country is yet to go live as it is still in pre-production.

Some hackers may try to take advantage of people’s restlessness to get vaccinated and create apps with similar names and scam them. It is advised not to download and give these apps personal information as it may lead to financial, identity and other frauds, according to the government.

So far, the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) has approved two vaccines for emergency use. The Ministry has also assured the public that the app will be “adequately publicised” prior to the launch. The cost of the vaccine to the general public has not been announced yet but it will be free for frontline workers.

“Some apps named ‘#CoWIN’ apparently created by unscrupulous elements to sound similar to upcoming official platform of Government, are on App stores. DO NOT download or share personal information on these. #MoHFW Official platform will be adequately publicised on its launch,” it said in a tweet.

In the first two phases of the vaccination process in India, frontline workers will get the vaccine. This list includes medical professionals who have been tirelessly working since the Covid-19 pandemic struck India. They will be followed by people over 50 years of age as they are more at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Earlier in December, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced a challenge for strengthening the Co-Win system for vaccine distribution of the country. The top two contestants will get a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh and Rs 20 lakh respectively.

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