The second wave of pandemic has been brutal. The number of cases and deaths have both surged. Another graph that has steadily gone up in fact ever since the Coronavirus pandemic spread in the country in 2020 is cybercrime graph. Cybercriminals are cashing on citizens fear and desperation. Oximeter is a crucial device to fight Coronavirus as it helps monitor blood oxygen levels. There are several Oximeter apps available for Android smartphones that can help you measure blood oxygen levels on your phone for free. However, cybersecurity company Quick Heal recently observed that there are some fake oximeter apps out there that steal fingerprint data for Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm etc and use it for financial frauds. Karnataka DGP’s official Twitter handle too recently warned against one such app. Here are 7 things you must know before downloading an oximeter app on your smartphone.

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​Not all Android phones can help you monitor SpO2 or blood oxygen levels

For a phone to be able to record Spo2 readings, the device needs certain hardware capabilities like sensors. Not all Android phones come with such sensors to help you record blood oxygen helps. Just downloading an app for free cannot cannot help you monitor blood oxygen levels. Very few phones come with the necessary sensors to enable SpO2 readings like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or other Samaung flagships. Also, the app readings are not reliable. It is highly recommended that you do not rely on apps, fitness trackers or your smartphone for measuring blood oxygen levels as none of these apps or smartphones are approved by any medical body for providing accurate readings.

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​There are a lot of fake oximeter apps available for Android phones

Cybersecurity firm QuickHeal recently discovered a few fake oximeter apps on Google Play store. Also, there are plenty of such apps available on third party app stores. It is important to understand that an ‘oximeter’ requires supported hardware on a device to be functional. Just because a particular app works on another device doesn’t mean it will work on your phone too. Also, there are many fake apps which claim to give you SpO2 readings for free by just placing your finger on the camera lens or fingerprint scanner. These apps simply fool you into believing that it is working while harvesting your personal data in the background.

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​Don’t download apps by clicking on links you get over SMS, email or WhatsApp messages

Don’t download any app by clicking on a link that you get over SMS, email or WhatsApp messages claiming to be an oximeter app. These apps are mostly fake and are malware in disguise to steal your data and continue spreading by sending SMSes secretly to your friends by stealing their contact information.

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​Disable app installation from from unknown sources on your Android phone

Go to the Settings menu on your Android phone and disable app installation from unknown sources. This will prevent unknown apps or apps that are not approved by Google from getting installed on your Android phone. As there are many unknown oximeter apps present on third-party platforms, this option will prevent you from using a random and unreliable app.

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​Read the permissions that an oximeter app is asking before installing

If an oximeter app is asking for permission to access your contacts and send SMS then there’s a high chance that it is fake and could be a malware. An oximeter app doesn’t require access to contacts and SMS to work.

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​While downloading an oximeter app check these to ensure that is not fake

As per Quick Heal, “Malicious developers spoof original Application names and Developer names. So, make sure you are downloading genuine apps only. Often app descriptions contain typos and grammatical mistakes. Check the developer’s website if a link is available on the app’s webpage. Avoid using it if anything looks strange or odd.”

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​Use a recognised antivirus app to protect your Android phone

It is highly advisable to get a paid antivirus app for your Android phone to safeguard from fake apps. Be it oximeter apps, gaming apps or any other type of app, an antivirus or anti-malware apps will help you stay protected.