Earlier this week we told you about the federal government sending out text messages to Canadians in Ontario, encouraging them to download the COVID-19 exposure notification app COVID Alert.
While there wasn’t an official announcement of Ottawa’s collaboration with Rogers, Telus and Bell, the federal government is now clarifying what Canadians should look for when it comes to legitimate text messages.
The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security said on Thursday, “Did you receive an #SMS encouraging you to download the #COVID Alert app? Did it look like this?” and shared screenshots of texts on iOS and Android.
“This text is legitimate, but others may not be. Beware of spelling mistakes, requests for personal info, urgent/threatening language and suspicious links,” explains the government.
“The Government of Canada will never send you messages asking you to click on links or to provide personal information. Remain vigilant and only download applications from trusted app stores to ensure you have the official version,” the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security continued.
COVID Alert for iOS and Android utilizes the Exposure Notification API from Apple and Google, allowing for Bluetooth to work in the system background for anonymous “handshakes” between devices. The app does not use GPS and all data stays on devices. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can decide whether or not to alert others that were in close contact.
The app launched in Ontario last week but is expected to expand to other provinces as more health authorities come on board.