Hackers aim at Whatsapp

2014-11-10 00:00

A WHATSAPP screen asking users to “renew their Whatsapp appearance”; share a message; or face being charged are all hoaxes designed to infect your smartphone with malware.

The UK-based website PC Advisor said messages threatening of Whats­app’s imminent demise, lack of server power or the sudden charging of services have been around since the social chat application launched five years ago.

PC Advisor reported that there is no security issues and the “best course of action is just to ignore or delete the message”.

Whatsapp, which announced earlier this year that it has over 500 million regular users, states on its Whatsapp blog there is no truth to the hoaxes, some of which date back to 2012, but the company does not have time to debunk all of them.

“Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it. While we are flattered that we made it to Hoax Slayer, we would rather work on cool new features instead of debunking silly stories like these.”

Part of the confusion on one particular hoax string sent by the “CEO Jim Balsamic” said if the message was sent, your Whatsapp icon would change blue.

This coincided with Whatsapp’s recent release of its read receipt service that illuminates the two ticks in a private or group message box to blue when it is read by the receiver.

On android phones, such a Trojan delivery hoax will typically not allow the user to revert to a previous page or open a new one. Restarting the smartphone is the only way to cancel the malware.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

“Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it.”

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