Last updated on January 23rd, 2020 at 06:07 pm
Messaging through WhatsApp is really easy, especially with the delivery reports (the two ticks), the read receipts and the speed of delivery, etc. It’s also a favorite with digital marketers, since it can be used for mass messaging. Given its ease, some hackers can send virus or malware through WhatsApp, sometimes even a Trojan horse. Read on to know how hackers can send a virus through WhatsApp?
Different Ways Hackers Use WhatsApp to Send a Virus
In this post, you can not only read about how hackers send virus through WhatsApp, but how you can prevent it as well. Following are the ways to hack WhatsApp followed by cybercriminals.
This trend began around the same time as 2016 – sending emails with the subject line ‘a new voice message’. These emails looked as if they were legitimate automated emails from WhatsApp. An example of one is below.
You should stay wary of such emails since, even if you open one such email, your device can get infected. You should also not click any part of this message.
Sending multi-media through a cell service is difficult and hence, images containing malware are sent through WhatsApp. The images seem pretty harmless, but the virus is embedded into normal code. What you can do is to avoid conversations with people you don’t know. Don’t download images that have been sent to you by random people.
In recent attempts to breach data security by sending virus through WhatsApp include malicious video content. Here, attackers may send you a malicious video link or attachment. Once you download this video content on your device, you will notice your data security is compromised.
Updated version of WhatsApp
This method has taken a rage – people sending links saying that there is an updated version of WhatsApp. It’s entirely possible to infect a message with a virus, even though the link in the message opens to Play Store or App Store.
Never click on such messages. Set your phone to automatically update apps or to prompt you when there is such an update available. You can then avoid clicking on such messages.
Around June last year, there was a sudden explosion of fake vouchers being circulated through WhatsApp. They were discovered to be fake, because when people tried to redeem the vouchers, the organizations, in whose name they were in, had no record of coupons or vouchers with the same barcode!
This is another way to hack WhatsApp. When a big brands such as Amazon or Starbucks request a survey, then it’s most likely that people respond. How is it possible to fake such a big name? Easy. Hackers just create a random survey, which is basically code. They insert the Trojan or virus within the survey. Then, they download an image or a logo and insert it within the message.
The moment your phone clicks on the message, the virus automatically downloads within the phone.
How do you keep yourself safe from such phishing attempts?
To begin with, read WhatsApp’s disclaimer.
WhatsApp doesn’t send emails about payments, updates, images or missed messages. They definitely do not send voice messages.
The next thing you can do is to download a very strong anti-virus. Fair warning, the free versions don’t do you much good. The paid versions, however, always scan any incoming data for virus or ransomware and keep your phone safe.
Anti-virus software also provide special plug-ins for internet browsing. Google has special virus scanners that can detect malware, or the like, when you upload something to Google Drive. Hence, it’s safe to store your data with Google.
What to do when you suspect an infection?
If you believe someone had tried to hack WhatsApp on your phone, you can do the following.
- Use a strong anti-virus software or application to run a security check.
- In case it displays results, then the software prompts you to delete the same. Just click ok and it will take care of the rest.
- If you are still not satisfied, you can reset your phone. Resetting removes all data that is stored in the phone memory and hence, your phone is as good as new.
How to recognize that your phone is infected
Here are some ways to detect that someone has tried to hack WhatsApp or breach WhatsApp security:
- Your phone is suddenly very slow.
- You suddenly start getting unnecessary pop-ups.
- If you notice that your device is getting hotter than usual.
- You see a number of strange apps that you don’t remember downloading.
- If you notice a loss of data such as documents, images, videos, etc.
- Apps suddenly are slower.
There is a lot someone can do with intel on you. People whose phones have been infected often lose data. Sometimes, hackers send virus through WhatsApp to steal identities. Loss of money, cyberbullying and kidnapping are some other unfortunate crimes that occur due to hacking. Hence, always take precaution to stay safe.