Hackers are now attacking WhatsApp users. Reports say that hackers have implanted viruses in Word and Excel documents which, when downloaded, will instantly steal personal and banking information from a device or PC. Unsuspecting WhatsApp users are the targets of this scam and people who use the app are warned to never open or download any suspicious documents.
Express.co.uk said that once WhatsApp user opens these documents, the virus spreads in his system and immediately siphons personal information. A user’s online banking information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, usernames and other personal data are at risk. The victim does not know that he has been hacked; he will only be able to find it out once he gets a hefty credit card bill or suspicious items or charges in his bank or credit card account.
The WhatsApp hack was demonstrated in India wherein the files with the name NDA or National Defence Academy and NIA or National Investigation Agency have been used. Because of the misleading file names, WhatsApp users were lured to downloading and opening the Word and Excel files. The NDA and the NIA are two well-known organizations in the country and hence people did not hesitate to open the files.
Meanwhile Phone Arena reported that the two viruses were disguised with file names “NDA-ranked-8th-toughest-College-in-the-world-to-get-into.xls” and “NIA-selection-order-.xls” WhatsApp users are advised not to open or download any kind of file that has these names.
Reports also reveal that this is not the first time WhatsApp was used by cybercriminals. Last year WhatsApp users in the UK received a message saying that they are entitled to receive a free voucher from Sainsbury’s. The message even appeared as to have been forwarded by a friend, family or a phone contact of the user.
WhatsApp is reassuring its users saying that they are aware of the threats and they are working to reduce spam messages in their system. “Creating a safe space for users to communicate with one another is a priority.” They would also want to help users identify and handle these unwanted messages from unauthorized third parties.
Last modified: March 3, 2018