Indian users are being targeted by cybercriminals who send fake messages with a link saying they can earn Rs 50,000 as COVID-19 subsidies.
On WhatsApp, a message said, "Get your new Coronavirus subsidy 50,000 INR'' with a link. The users were urged to click on a link. The CyberPeace Foundation's Research Wing and Autobot Infosec initiated a study to see if these websites are genuine or online scams.
The user is asked to answer a few questions after clicking on the link. Gender, age, and whether the recipient or their family members have been affected by COVID-19 are among the inquiries. Once the user has completed the survey, a message of congratulations appears. The user is then prompted to send the message to five other WhatsApp contacts via the 'click to claim' option. No reputable website would encourage its visitors to spread the word about the campaign via WhatsApp.
The message was purportedly sent from the "Coronavirus Foundation." The campaign was questionable because it was hosted on a third-party domain rather than an official website. If the "Coronavirus Foundation" genuinely exists, the drive should have been placed on the foundation's official website rather than a third-party domain, making it even more suspect.
The study team discovered multiple redirections. China is listed as the registrant nation for all domain names involved with the campaign. The rewards are kept appealing to keep people interested. During a review of the site's background behavior, the Research Team identified a simultaneous connection to a Chinese domain.
According to the CyberPeace Foundation, people should avoid opening such messages provided via social networking sites. The users' entire system, such as a microphone, camera, text messages, contacts, photos, videos, banking apps, etc., could be compromised if they fall for this scam and suffer financial loss.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.