Published: 30th April 2021
Think before installing apps that offer to check oxygen level in your blood. It's a scam
Doctors too warn that the accuracy of many apps, which claim to give a reading, are not medically verified
As frequent blood oxygen level checks are vital in monitoring the health condition of Covid-19 patients, cyber experts warn that people who are in a mad rush to download apps that offer to check blood oxygen level could easily fall prey to cybercriminals who are making use of the situation to steal biometric and other private data.
Doctors too warn that the accuracy of many apps, which claim to give a reading, are not medically verified. "We don't recommend anyone to use such an app to check the oxygen level in blood. Due to the rise in COVID cases, doctors are advising people to check their oxygen saturation level on a daily basis to stay safe. But we don't recommend any app for the purpose," said Dr Sushama Anil, who is also secretary of Kerala Association of Small Hospitals and Clinics (KASC). "With the price of Oximeter going up and due to its shortage in the market, people will easily fall prey to such apps," she said."There are many apps that have suddenly appeared promising to provide a reading on the oxygen level in the blood. Many cybercriminals are making use of the prevailing situation to take advantage of innocent people and steal their confidential data," said Cyber-security expert and Technisanct CEO Nandkishore Harikumar.
"These apps can even hijack your biometric as well other confidential data from your smartphone. Cybersecurity expert and member of Data Security Council of India Manu Zacharia said the authenticity of the apps that provide reading of blood oxygen level have not been verified by any technical or medical body. "There might be some apps for high-end smartphones which use technology to deliver the readings. But not all apps or smartphones will be able to deliver it. Any app which claims to measure oxygen level by camera or fingerprint scanner should be considered fake," he said.Cyber Dost, the official twitter handle maintained by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India for cyber-safety and cybersecurity awareness, had already warned about such fake apps. "Some URL Links on internet are advertising to provide fake Mobile Oximeter Apps to check your oxygen level. Do not download such fake Oximeter Apps on your mobile, as these Apps may steal your personal or biometric data from your Mobile phone," the tweet said.