WHO mYoga App
Credit: UNICC/Al Sawwaf

WHO and UNICC Deliver mYoga App, a Daily Yoga Companion

The World Health Organization, together with the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, recently launched the well-received and popular WHO mYoga app.​

Developed by UNICC, the mYoga app has found a global audience with a simple yoga practice platform for the general public. It includes Yoga learning and practice sessions of varying durations. The a​​pp comprises a collection of videos and audio sessions that users can enjoy in the comfort of their homes,​​ and when they wish. It also allows users to download videos in case they wish to watch them offline at their own convenience.

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The mYoga app is safe and secure, collecting no data from users at all, and can be used as a daily Yoga companion for people aged around 18-65 years. The app is easy-to-use and a free tool for people who are trying yoga for the first time or those who already practice yoga regularly. No special equipment is needed, and users can learn or practice yoga from 3 to 45 minutes, so even busy people can use it to get active, achieve  peace of mind and stay fit.

The app was built using React Native, which is an Open Source cross-platform framework for mobile development. UNICC leverages Amazon AWS for storing the media content (video/audio files). The WHO mYoga app is available for free download on Android devices and Apple devices.

The application currently supports two languages, namely English (default) and Hindi. I will make it available in all six UN languages.

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Credit: WHO

The Prime Minister of India expressed his hope that this app will provide help for spreading the practice of Yoga worldwide and will also contribute to the efforts of “One World, One Health.”

The project started in 2019 and the first version of the WHO mYoga App was recently launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he was addressing 7th International Yoga Day on Monday, June 21, 2021. UNICC is currently working on the second version where all six UN languages will be available with some improvements.

The mYoga app is an effort to further popularise Yoga. It will also help realise our collective vision of “One World, One Health.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

He also said that this app will be helpful in keeping people healthy during the pandemic. It may have a great role in the re-rehabilitation of the health of the people who have recovered from COVID-19.

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Photo: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi with WHO mYoga App (see story here).

In addition, the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus shared a Twitter post in June about the App, saying: “Happy #InternationalDayOfYoga! @WHO is very happy to launch a new mYoga App, together with the Government of #India, to help you do yoga at your convenience, especially during #COVID19. Thank you so much, for your support, Prime Minister @narendramodi! Let’s #BeActive!”

The app, recently launched, has already secured a prestigious place in the AppBrain world ranking!

We faced many challenges during the mYoga app development process, but after launching the app and seeing the positive feedback from the users and the prestigious place the app secured quickly in the World Ranking, we felt really thrilled. I believe that self-belief, teamwork and hard work will always earn you success.

Minas al Sawwaf, React Native Developer, UNICC

mYoga Features

  • Viewing and downloading of learning and practice videos
  • Users can view learning and practice videos for the various Yoga training exercises to understand how to perform the exercise. The video once viewed entirely will be marked as “Completed”. In case the user has not finished watching the entire video, it will be marked as “In progress”. User can also download the video if needed for offline viewing. A particular practice video will be enabled only once the relevant learning videos for that practice video have been “Completed”
  • Playing and downloading of audio files
  • Users can listen to the audio clips for a particular practice video for the various Yoga training exercises to understand how to perform the exercise. User can also download the audio if needed for offline listening.
  • Internationalisation: users have the option to switch the language from within the application. The application currently supports two languages namely English (default) and Hindi
  • Audio/Video streaming: users can view the training videos and listen to audio clips using the media player within the app. The application streams the video/audio from Amazon cloud. The media thus streamed is rendered on the device using Amazon Media Convert and Cloud front services. In addition, all the media files are stored centrally inside an Amazon S3 bucket.

WHO mYoga App and the SDGs

The app proposed the concept of Be Healthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) under the United Nations SDG for achieving Universal Health Coverage by the year 2030. BHBM initiative was set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2012 to support the scaling up of mobile health technology in the National Health Service (NHS) to combat various non-communicable diseases.

The goal of developing the WHO mYoga app is to spotlight the health benefits of yoga that can ease the stress of our modern ‘laptop’ lives. SDG 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” is particularly relevant since yoga improves physical health and general well-being. Other SDGs can also be seen in different aspects. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights not only the health benefits of the practice but also the sustainable lifestyle it promotes, leading to better harmony between people and the planet.

Scammers impersonating WHO website taken down by UNICC and Group-IB.
Photo: WHO

Saving World Health Day: UNICC and Group-IB Take Down Scam Campaign Impersonating the World Health Organization

UNICC, together with Group-IB, a global threat hunting and adversary-centric cyber intelligence company that specialises in investigating high-tech cybercrimes, detected and took down a massive multistage scam campaign circulating online on April 7, World Health Day. Scammers created a distributed network of 134 rogue websites impersonating the World Health Organization (WHO) on its health awareness day, encouraging users to take a fake survey with a promise of funds in return. The scheme targeted millions of users around the world with the goal of tricking them into visiting fraudulent third-party websites.

Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Team detected the campaign and reached out UNICC’s Common Secure team as a trusted contact for cyber threat intelligence matters within the UN in order to assure that competent contacts with WHO are aware of its existence. 

Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Team performed the takedown of all the scam domains. Group-IB researchers established that one scammer collective, codenamed DarkPath Scammers, is likely to be behind the campaign. The investigation is underway.

Cyber-hygiene for the Sustainable Development Goals

UNICC works with the World Health Organization and many other UN Agencies to deliver on their mandates, represented by the Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Whether it’s health, eradication of poverty or hunger, rights for women and girls, actions to take on climate change, economic justice, sustainable cities and communities, or for peace and justice around the world, UNICC provides digital business solutions, including a threat intelligence network for over 30 UN Agencies and international organizations.

After warning us, we knew Group-IB was the team to deal with this World Health Day scam. They have the expertise and tools to get the job of takedown done, in short order.

Bojan Simetic, Information Security Specialist, UNICC 

We are excited to cooperate with UNICC in the detection and elimination of scams deceiving people into thinking they are dealing with legitimate websites. 

Dmitry Tyunkin, Head of Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Team

Detecting the Scam

On April 7, Group-IB alerted UNICC about a fake website impersonating WHO branding, where users were encouraged to answer a few simple questions to earn a 200 Euro reward on the occasion of World Health Day.  

Once users answered questions, they were prompted to share links with their WhatsApp contacts. This way scammers tried to ensure the viral distribution of their multistage schema. Group-IB researchers discovered that users would see several fake Facebook comments about gifts commentators supposedly received. When they then hit the Share button they would unknowingly involve friends in the scam by sharing the link with them – instead of the promised reward – with a redirect to third-party fraudulent resources offering participation in another lucky draw. 

By this time in the scam routine WHO is no longer mentioned as users would visit a hookup website, inadvertently install an extension for their browsers or subscribe for paid services. In the worst-case scenario, users would end up on a malicious or a phishing website.  

In addition to the multi-stage nature of the scam, which makes it harder to detect, victims saw customised content depending on their geolocation, user agents and language settings. For example, the currency of the reward would change depending on user location. 

What the Scam Looked Like

Group-IB Digital Risk Protection team discovered that it was not a one-off, short-lived website impersonating the WHO brand, but rather a sophisticated distributed scam infrastructure that included a network of 134 almost-identical, connected domains hosting web pages exploiting the World Health Day theme. Within 48 hours upon discovery, Group-IB managed to block all the rogue domains. 

Screenshot of Group-IB Platform Digital Risk Protection Platform showing network of scam websites taken down with UNICC.
Screenshot from Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Platform shows the network of 134 rogue websites impersonating the World Health Organization. Credit: Group-IB

Further investigation found that the 134 domains, identified and blocked by Group-IB, are part of a larger scam network, attributed to a single scammer collective.   

Group-IB researchers discovered connections between the blocked 134 websites involved in the WHO scam and at least 500 other scam and phishing resources impersonating more than 50 well-known international food, sportswear, e-commerce, software, automotive, e​nergy industry brands. The analysis of websites revealed that cybercriminals used scam kits, similar to phishing kits, which are sets of instruments for the creation and design of scam pages. One scam kit allows impersonating multiple brands at a time using the same template. Interestingly, after the takedown efforts by UNICC and Group-IB, the scammers stopped using the WHO branding across their whole network. 

Brands impersonated by DarkPath scammers, collective involved in the WHO scam taken down by Group-IB and UNICC.
Brands impersonated by DarkPath Scammers. Breakdown by industries. Credit: Group-BI

Scam Syndicate 

During the infrastructure analysis, Group-IB researchers examined the domains and other digital indicators and concluded that the whole network is likely to be maintained and controlled by a scammer collective codenamed DarkPath Scammers. Most of the domains with phishing and scam content are using CDN’s (Content Delivery Networks) to hide IP-addresses of the real servers. Thanks to its proprietary Graph Analysis system, Group-IB researchers analysed dozens of SSL certificates, SSH keys, DNS and were able to track down malicious infrastructure, unveil the IP-addresses of the real servers where phishing content was stored and connect the domains into one distributed scam network. The scammers are using the same infrastructure configuration with its own traits and misconfigurations across all their servers. Group-IB continues to monitor the scammers’ activity. 

Most of the scam websites controlled by DarkPath Scammers remain active at the moment and keep targeting millions of users around the world. The scammers advertise their resources using email blasts, paid ads and in social media. According to Group-IB estimates, the scammers’ whole network attracts around 200,000 users daily from the US, India, Russia and other locations.

Dmitry Tyunkin, Head of Group-IB Digital Risk Protection team in Amsterdam, noted that “many brands, however, still underestimate the impact of such scams on their businesses and customers. Most organizational approaches to eliminating brand abuse online seems a lot like tilting at windmills. They miss this continuous trend toward the use of multistage scams and distributed infrastructure. Scammers use smart, advanced technologies. They are successful due to the lack of comprehensive digital asset monitoring by brand owners.”

Organizations should carry out seamless online monitoring to promptly detect any cases of illicit use of their brands. Many institutions monitor only separate brand infringements, like phishing pages and domains but overlook other elements of fraudulent infrastructure. To see the comprehensive picture of all brand violations, companies should use Group-IB Digital Risk Protection solutions that will promptly eliminate all brand infringements online on a pre-trial basis without additional investment and lengthy litigation.  

To avoid falling prey to this scheme, online users should carefully check the website they are interacting with. It is never redundant to check if the link you’re going to click on is identical to the domain of the organization’s official website since fraudsters often register domain names mimicking official ones. Stay suspicious of any website on which you plan to enter your data is a habit that must be developed by everyone willing to keep their money safe.

Photo: UNITAR

UNICC and UNITAR Launch Mobile App for WHO Safe Surgery Checklist

UNICC and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have partnered to develop a mobile application to facilitate the use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. The app was launched Tuesday 17 September 2019, during the celebration of the first World Patient Safety Day.

Mobile apps with innovative technology like voice recognition can make all the difference in access and availability of information to people around the globe.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

World Patient Safety Day was established this year to raise global awareness on accessible, safe, timely and affordable surgical care, an issue that is at the heart of universal health coverage and is key to achieving any health related objective outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Energy, telecommunications, manufacturing and service industries have shown that innovative digital solutions can help increase safety in the medical field. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was developed to reduce errors and adverse events, improve teamwork and communication in surgery.

The new mobile application aims to promote the use of WHO’s Checklist by making it even easier to follow through a voice recognition system. As a result, UNICC, WHO and UNITAR expect the morbidity and mortality rates to keep decreasing in patients during and after surgery.

UNICC’s Director, Sameer Chauhan, explained the crucial link between technology and patient safety and how possible technological tools can contribute to surgical care.

The launch event, organized by WHO and UNITAR in the Palais des Nations in Geneva was preceded by a roundtable with experts from WHO global surgery staff and health care specialists from around the world who met to discuss the need for safe surgery.

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist app is already available at Google Play.

See also the related UNICC story on WHO’s 5 Moments of Medication Safety App.