WhatsApp is everyone’s favorite messaging app. No wonder it is also the hot favorite with cyber criminals! WhatsApp is a convenient tool for hackers. It’s easy to get people to download/click links that are perceived to be sent via/ from WhatsApp. So here’s a list of some of the most prevalent WhatsApp scams (or shams, if you please) that you should be aware of and avoid.
Voice message over email: Just as 2016 began, a lot of people started receiving emails with subject lines like ‘a new voice message’ or ‘an audio memo was missed’. The emails were created to make them look like legitimate automated mails from Whatsapp. Here’s what the message(s) look like:
Do not be fooled by such emails. In fact, don’t even bother to ‘read’ the mail. They belong in trash. If you click on any part of this ‘message’, the hidden malware will launch itself and infect your device viz. your iOS or Android Phone.
Images/Pictures: This is probably one of the most recognizable Whatsapp hoax. Hackers circulate images through WhatsApp. These images look harmless enough. So if you find a forwarded image from someone who’s not likely to send them otherwise, avoid clicking. Even if the image claims to be an updated version of WhatsApp such as this one below!
Forwarded Messages: The lure of updated versions of WhatsApp is carried out through forwarded messages too. Just another trick to spam all contacts on your list. This is how the message looks like.
Surveys/Fake Vouchers: Another common attempt at phishing is through fake vouchers and surveys circulated through WhatsApp. In mid August last year, there was an explosion of F&B vouchers and Surveys being distributed via WhatsApp. When you see a name like StarBucks conducting a feedback survey, you can’t help but respond. But if you are wise, you won’t. This is what the fake Starbucks survey looked like.
So, that’s your listicle of WhatsApp hoax, virus, and phishing attempts. Don’t fall prey to these. Also, this is what the official WhatsApp site states:
“First and foremost, be advised that we do not use WhatsApp to send messages to you.
We also do not send you emails about chats, Voice Messages, payment, changes, photos or videos.”
You can read WhatsApp’s complete official statement here.
For more updates on malware and how to be safe from them, watch this space.
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