PETALING JAYA: The recent mushrooming of contact tracing apps to facilitate any form of contact tracing due to Covid-19 will do more harm than good, said a tech expert.
CEO and Security Consultant of LE Global Services Sdn Bhd Fong Choong Fook said the number of contact tracing apps leaves smartphone users confused as to which one they should install.
“This also gives an opportunity for cybercriminals to impersonate any third-party apps and steal personal data stored in our phones,” he told theSun yesterday.
He said the contact tracing apps should be unified to just one app for the convenience of users.
This comes after the federal government and several state governments launched their own contact tracing apps.
The federal government’s app, developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) is called MyTrace.
Two other apps launched by the Selangor and Johor state governments are called SELangkah and Jejak Johor respectively. Penang launched PgCare while Sabah introduced SabahTrace.
Fong also said mobile app developers who claim to make contact tracing apps must be able to ensure that their apps have gone through thorough security testing.
“This is so that cybercriminals cannot leverage and use loopholes found in the mobile apps to steal data from the authority,” he said.
Bobby Varanasi, chief executive officer of Matryzel Consulting Inc said the implementation of the apps could have been handled better.
“This seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the Covid-19 situation. For a country of our size, one app should be enough to handle Covid-19 contact tracing-related matters,” he told theSun.
Varanasi said while the apps themselves would not cost much, back-end support may carry a large price tag.
“Such apps can be completed by two programmers with a budget of around RM5,000.
“Maintaining the huge database of information, and linking between multiple government databases may incur high costs though,” he said.
A cybersecurity expert who preferred to remain anonymous said the situation showed that the parties involved lacked coordination.
“Based on my usage, some of the apps were redundant.
“They had repetitive functions and could have been worked into one singular app. It’s clear that we lack coordination,” he said.
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One contact tracing app enough, say tech experts