Haryana Police have issued an advisory requesting citizens to beware of phishing emails received from unknown or untrusted sources promising free Covid-19 treatment or reimbursement as this could lead to cheating or defrauding the user.

Cautioning the people to beware of such cyber attacks, additional director general of police (ADGP) law and order, Navdeep Singh Virk said that spread of the coronavirus had also seen a spike in cyberattacks in the country and cybercriminal gangs are exploiting the given situation and uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic to target individuals and businesses.

To persuade users to disclose personal information, such scammers could impersonate authorities that have been tasked to oversee government assistance for Covid-19 treatment. Explaining the modus operandi, the ADGP said  the cyber attackers may send phishing emails to the targets using spoofed addresses like [email protected] or similar appearing to come from the authentic authorities responsible for dispensing government funded Covid-19 support initiatives.

Then they inform the target about mandatory testing orders by the Government and prompt to register for testing by clicking on a malicious link.

As soon as one clicks, they steal important and personal data of citizens. Virk also outlined a series of steps for cyber security and added that users must avoid downloading unverified email attachments or clicking fake links especially in relation to Health information or having the theme of Covid-19.

In addition, people should also refrain from clicking on any suspicious links which promises reimbursement of Covid-19 treatment. These are phishing messages and are not sent by the government authorities responsible for dispensing government funded Covid-19 support, he added.