Whatsapp, the popular mobile messaging app is quickly becoming a new means of transmission of phishing attacks, hoaxes and scams.
Have you received a message saying that Whatsapp is shutting down and you must forward the message to 10 of your contacts to prevent it? Or another one saying that if you want to avoid paying for the service you just have to get your logo to turn red? Don’t follow these directions since, as Whatsapp has confirmed through the company’s official blog, they are nothing but hoaxes. These messages read like this:
“Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th jan 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 Red to indicate a frequent user.”
This type of messages exploits social engineering to spread. Despite forwarding this message to 10 people doesn’t seem dangerous, it might be the case that these messages are accompanied by a malicious file that can steal data from your phone or get you subscribed to a premium SMS service. If you receive messages like these, just ignore them and delete them. Only trust the information made available from official sources.
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