Avoid What­sApp viruses, scams and hoaxes

Marie Brewis re­veals how to stay safe and evade scams

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

What­sApp scams used to fo­cus on the idea that you would be charged for the ser­vice, but now they of­fer scam shop­ping vouch­ers and dodgy links that down­load mal­ware. Here are some of the What­sApp scams you should delete and for­get, plus how to avoid What­sApp viruses, scams and hoaxes.

What­sApp scam of­fers free £250 Sainsbury’s or M&S voucher

One of the most com­mon What­sApp scams in Jan­uary 2017 is one that of­fers a link with the prom­ise of a free £250 gift card for ei­ther Sainsbury’s or Marks & Spencer. The M&S ver­sion is pic­tured above.

By click­ing on the link you are taken to a sur­vey page that asks you to an­swer var­i­ous per­sonal ques­tions. This sur­vey has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with the su­per­mar­ket, and ev­ery­thing to do with steal­ing your data. Do not fill in the sur­vey and do not pass on the mes­sage.

What­sApp mal­ware threat­ens to steal per­sonal in­for­ma­tion

The most re­cent What­sApp scam to come to our at­ten­tion hopes to trick the user into open­ing a

le­git­i­mate-look­ing Word, Ex­cel or PDF doc­u­ment at­tached to a What­sApp mes­sage that will ac­tu­ally down­load mal­ware to their de­vice that can steal their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

All re­ports so far orig­i­nate from In­dia, and ap­par­ently use the names of the NDA (Na­tional De­fence Academy) and NIA (Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency) in an at­tempt to get users to open them, but it won’t take much for the scam to make its way to the UK too. Only last month a sim­i­lar mes­sage did the rounds in the UK that tried to per­suade users to down­load a £100 Sainsbury’s voucher. In re­al­ity, the link sim­ply in­stalled cook­ies or a browser ex­ten­sion on the user’s phone that could be used to serve ad­verts to them.

The eas­i­est way to avoid this scam is to delete the mes­sage, and never to down­load an un­ex­pected doc­u­ment at­tach­ment – whether or not it comes from a trusted con­tact.

What­sApp is not end­ing at 6pm

The lat­est What­sApp charg­ing scam to catch our at­ten­tion goes as fol­lows:

“To­mor­row at 6 pm they are end­ing What­sApp and you have to pay to open it, this is by law

“This mes­sage is to in­form all of our users, our servers have re­cently been very con­gested, so we are ask­ing you to help us solve this prob­lem. We re­quire our ac­tive users to for­ward this mes­sage to each of the peo­ple in your con­tact list to con­firm our ac­tive users us­ing What­sApp, if you do not send this mes­sage to all your con­tacts What­sApp will then start to charge you. Your ac­count will

re­main in­ac­tive with the con­se­quence of los­ing all your con­tacts. Mes­sage from Jim Bal­samic (CEO of What­sapp ) we have had an over us­age of user names on what­sapp Mes­sen­ger. We are re­quest­ing all users to for­ward this mes­sage to their en­tire con­tact list. If you do not for­ward this mes­sage, we will take it as your ac­count is in­valid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ig­nore this mes­sage or what­sapp will no longer recog­nise your ac­ti­va­tion.

“If you wish to re-ac­ti­vate your ac­count after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill.

“We are also aware of the is­sue in­volv­ing the pic­tures up­dates not show­ing. We are work­ing dili­gently at fix­ing this prob­lem and it will be up and run­ning as soon as pos­si­ble. Thank you for your co­op­er­a­tion from the What­sapp team

“What­sApp is go­ing to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a fre­quent user i.e. you have at least 10 peo­ple you are chat­ting with. To be­come a fre­quent user send this mes­sage to 10 peo­ple who re­ceive it (2 ticks) and your What­sApp logo should turn blue”

This is ab­so­lutely not true, and un­der no cir­cum­stances should you fall for it.

What­sApp Gold: What­sApp Pre­mium is a con

The lat­est hoax do­ing the rounds is an ex­clu­sive in­vi­ta­tion to up­grade to a pre­mium ver­sion of the app, called What­sApp Gold. It’s com­plete and ut­ter rub­bish: there is no What­sApp Gold.

“The in­vi­ta­tion reads: “Hey Fi­nally Se­cret What­sapp golden ver­sion has been leaked, This ver­sion is used only by big celebri­ties. Now we can use it too.”

It claims to al­low you to delete mes­sages after you’ve sent them, and si­mul­ta­ne­ously send 100 pic­tures, among other things. It sounds great, but it’s en­tirely made up. Click on the link in the in­vi­ta­tion and you’re more likely to end up with a mal­ware in­fec­tion.

What­sApp virus: How to avoid What­sApp virus

The lat­est What­sApp scam isn’t de­liv­ered by What­sApp it­self but through your email app on your An­droid phone or iPhone. It tells you that you have missed a What­sApp call or have a What­sApp voice mes­sage, which you should click on the link in the email to ac­cess. Rather than your mes­sage, you get a virus down­loaded to your de­vice. Please don’t be fooled. What­sApp will never con­tact you out­side the What­sApp app it­self, so if you see this then do not click the link and delete the mes­sage.

What­sApp chain mes­sage hoaxes: Is What­sApp clos­ing down?

One What­sApp hoax that reg­u­larly does the rounds is that which asks you to for­ward the mes­sage to 10 peo­ple or the ser­vice will close down. What­sApp has mil­lions of users, and it re­ally won’t no­tice you send­ing 10 mes­sages through the ser­vice. It is not about to close down, and this is very much a hoax.

An­other vari­a­tion sug­gests there are too many What­sApp users, and it will close your ac­count if you don’t start us­ing it. The chain mes­sage reads:

“Mes­sage from Jim Bal­samic (CEO of What­sapp). We have had an over us­age of user names on What­sApp Mes­sen­ger. We are re­quest­ing all users to for­ward this mes­sage to their en­tire con­tact list.

“If you do not for­ward this mes­sage, we will take it as your ac­count is in­valid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ig­nore this mes­sage or What­sApp will no longer recog­nise your ac­ti­va­tion.”

If you don’t act in time, What­sApp will ap­par­ently charge you £25 to re­ac­ti­vate your ac­count, which will be added to your phone bill. Ex­cept it won’t, be­cause What­sApp is now a free ser­vice.

What­sApp chain mes­sage hoaxes: Is What­sApp go­ing to start charg­ing in­ac­tive users?

The most pop­u­lar hoax is one that sug­gests the ser­vice will start charg­ing in­ac­tive users a cer­tain amount per mes­sage, so by send­ing the mes­sage on to 10 users they can prove they are an ac­tive mem­ber and loyal, and there­fore de­serv­ing of its free ser­vice. Re­ally? Ask your­self how send­ing that mes­sage you don’t pay for to 10 peo­ple could pos­si­bly keep open the com­pany if it was that des­per­ate for cash? If it were skint, it wouldn’t have de­cided to ditch its sub­scrip­tion fees.

One vari­a­tion of this mes­sage claims to come from the app’s founder, ‘David D. Suretech’. Never

mind that Brian Ac­ton and Jan Koum are the ac­tual founders of What­sApp. It reads:

”Hello, I. Am DAVID D. SURETECH founder of What­sapp. this mes­sage is to in­form all of our users that we have only 53mil­lion ac­counts avail­able for new phones. Our servers have re­cently been very con­gested, so we ask­ing for your help to solve this prob­lem. We need our ac­tive users to for­ward this mes­sage to every sin­gle per­son in their con­tact list in or­der to con­firm our ac­tive users that use What­sApp. If you do not send this mes­sage to all your con­tacts to What­sApp, then your ac­count will re­main in­ac­tive with the con­se­quence of los­ing all your con­tacts.

“The au­to­matic up­date sym­bol on your Smart­Phone Will ap­pear with the trans­mis­sion of this mes­sage. Your smart­phone will be up­dated within 24 hours, and will fea­ture a new design; a new color for the chat and the icon will change from green to azul. What­sapp will be­gin to charge un­less you are a fre­quent user. If you have at least 10 con­tacts send this sms and the logo will be­come red on your plat­form to in­di­cate that you are an ac­tive user. To­mor­row, we wil be­gin to take mes­sages for what­sapp for 0.37 cents. For­ward this mes­sage to more than 9 peo­ple in your con­tact list and the what’s app logo on your will turn blue mean­ing that you have Be­come a free user for life.”

What­sApp’s re­sponse to all such scams is as fol­lows: “Please un­der­stand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.