China warns against fake Digital Yuan wallets


China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has warned local netizens that fake wallet apps for the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) are already circulating and being used by scammers.

The digital renminbi – also called e-Yuan or e-CNY – is already widely used in parts of China where large pilot projects have begun. Using digital currency requires an app – here is the iOS version – and a link to a bank account. The currency is essentially digital money with Chinese characteristics – the potential for surveillance that has seen CBDCs become the subject of demonstrations in other nations.

China has promoted the app by offering cash gifts, encouraging merchants to accept it and highlighting it at major events like the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. transactions reached tens of billions measured in US dollars and more than 260 million digital wallets were issued.

It’s a size that’s bound to attract cybercriminals – and they’ve duly come in with some old tricks.

In a job Concerning the QQ social network, the ministry warned against fake applications that use patriotic themes, or get-rich-quick schemes, to convince users to provide personal information.

Others run customer service groups in which victims are tricked into paying money.

The ministry’s message advises Chinese internet users to be wary of apps promising high returns without loss through inside investment information, and also to be careful when scanning QR codes and visiting unfamiliar websites.

The council also recommends accessing apps only through official channels. Unfortunately, it’s a little more difficult in China than elsewhere, because the nation is thought to host over 100 Android app stores, the largest of which are run by major phone makers like Huawei and Xiaomi. Most smaller app stores are harder to pin down.

Readers are no doubt familiar with the many occasions when even Apple And Google have let malware and data thieves into their app stores. The register I imagine many of China’s countless Android app stores are doing the same – or doing worse in their efforts to detect harmful software.

Regardless of the origin of dubious e-CNY apps, the ministry wants internet users to check its lists of known bad apps and avoid them.

The register expects Chinese authorities to also remind app store operators of their responsibility to ensure that the Middle Kingdom’s Internet is free of malicious elements. Similar decrees have been issued against social media services, broadcasters and publishers.

A crackdown would serve Beijing’s broader ambitions regarding the digital yuan, which it presents as a token for cross-border payments. Today, the U.S. dollar dominates global trade – a role that greatly benefits the United States in many ways. China wants more global trade to take place in the currencies and systems it controls. A wave of malicious and/or fraudulent e-CNY applications will make it harder for Beijing to find customers willing to buy its digital currency. ®

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