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WhatsApp scam tricks users into opening malware sent by 'friends'

'It speaks several languages so the attacks can be customised'

Maya Oppenheim
Friday 05 February 2016 11:03 GMT
Fraudsters are targeting social media giant Whatsapp by sending legitimate-looking links to users
Fraudsters are targeting social media giant Whatsapp by sending legitimate-looking links to users

WhatsApp has reportedly been the target of a new scam which deceives users into disclosing personal information.

According to BT, the links appear to come from your friend but instead lead you to a discount page which then asks for your personal details.

Unassuming users are then led to a fake website which infects your phone with malware, allowing the scammer to obtain sensitive information.

WhatsApp’s popularity has exploded in recent years. It now has nearly one billion users worldwide and has become a key target for scammers.

Speaking to This Is Money, David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, an internet security and antivirus software company, says the scam operates in a range of languages.

“We have noted that this WhatsApp scam has been actively circling for some time. It 'speaks' several languages so the attacks can be customised for each market.

“The message convinces the user to forward the message to 10 contacts, so he/she can receive a certain promotion (such as £5 discount at Starbucks, Zara etc)."

WhatsApp’s growing popularity in Europe and India has meant it has gained scammers’ attention in recent months.

Just last month, security experts warned there was a scam posing as a WhatsApp update which had the capacity to access and retrieve banking apps on your mobile phone.

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