WhatsApp is a very popular messaging platform, and hackers know this pretty well. That is why they keep coming up with new scams targeting WhatsApp users. The latest in the list is the WhatsApp Gold virus.
WhatsApp Gold virus – how it’s tricking users?
In the WhatsApp Gold virus, users are sent a message asking them to download an update that gives them access to WhatsApp Gold. The update, in fact, is malware. The scam message informs users about Whatsapp Gold, adding “A video will be launched tomorrow in Whatsapp called Martinelli.”
Got this and am circulating just in case it’s true.
FYI: Whatsapp Gold. A video will be launched tomorrow in Whatsapp called Martinelli. DO NOT OPEN it. Its a virus which goes into your phone and nothing will fix it. Do not update to Whatsapp Gold the virus is serious.
— Anna Moore (@5AMoores) January 3, 2019
Clicking the video link will reportedly install malware on the users phone. Many users have reported getting this message, and on many instances, users have downloaded the update thinking they will get some new features.
WhatsApp users are posting awareness messages, asking users to stay away from such updates. Warning messages are also being sent on other social media platforms, like Twitter, telling users not to fall for the WhatsApp Gold virus.
— TechBuzz Ireland 👨💻 (@techbuzzinfo) January 2, 2019
Users must stay away from such scams and be careful of such tricks in the future as well. If you also get any such messages then delete them immediately so that you don’t even click it even by mistake. One thing that must always be remembered is that any update to the WhatsApp will come through the App Store or Play Store.
Also, users should be cautious when dealing with messages carrying the “Forwarded” label. WhatsApp rolled out the “Forwarded” tag last year to tackle fake news. Also, the messaging platform limited the number of forwards to only five people.
Not a new one
The WhatsApp Gold scam is not a new one. It has troubled users in the past as well, and now, it has resurfaced again. In the past, users have reported getting an invitation to install a limited edition version of WhatsApp. The limited version claims to offer the ability to send 100 pictures at once and delete messages after they are sent. One version of the Gold scam encourages users to click on the link saying it will get them access to WhatsApp for celebrities.
The first such WhatsApp Gold scam surfaced in 2016, inviting users to download an update, which then takes them to a website full of malware. The Gold scam has also been making the rounds with the name WhatsApp Plus.
Earlier, WhatsApp has cleared that it has nothing to do with WhatsApp Gold or WhatsApp Plus. “Plus have no relationship with WhatsApp and we do not support WhatsApp Plus,” the messaging platform said.
Moreover, in November, the cyber-security firm Sophos also warned users against the scam. Sophos asked users to tell the sender to stop forwarding such messages. The security firm also informs that the Gold scam has been in circulation since at least two and a half years ago.
Other scams that you need to be beware of
From time to time we have seen old scams resurfacing on WhatsApp. One of the oldest WhatsApp scams asks users to pay for the service. The scam circulates a message from an unknown number saying that your WhatsApp has expired, and users must renew it immediately. Users must stay away from such messages as WhatsApp is completely free. Even the messaging platform has officially said that it is free and will remain so forever.
Another scam that has resurfaced many times offers users new features. The message tells users that they are special and their phone is the best. Further, the message says that their phone supports a new “WhatsApp 4G” or “WhatsApp Ultra Light Wi-Fi.” These new versions will lower the data usage for the users, the message says.
Further, the message asks users to forward the same message to ten more contacts and then click the link at the bottom of the message. The link sends users to a website, where they need to fill out a short survey. Questions in the survey try to get personal information from the users and give hackers the IP address. Such details are enough for hackers to carry out other scams.
Additionally, after filling out the form, users are asked to download other “free” apps. Such apps are often found to contain malware. Scammers reportedly get commissions by encouraging users to download such apps.
WhatsApp has laid out a few signs to identify such scams. The messaging platform asks users to be cautious while dealing with a message that claims to be from a sender affiliated with WhatsApp; carries instructions to forward the message to avoid a fine or suspension; offers a reward or gift.