WhatsApp is the daily communication lifeline of literally every other smartphone user out there. However, its growing user base and hence the transmission of sensitive information invites many scams and fake news. In fact, due to WhatsApp’s vulnerability, many countries are already working on developing their own communication platform.
As part of all the vulnerabilities that the app posses, it’s even giving people the opportunity to spy on WhatsApp activities using an app or spyware.
Though WhatsApp has done a lot over the years to refine the user experience and plug any security loopholes, still hackers out there are constantly developing malicious programs to target the security of this messaging platform. In the IT industry, security is constantly evolving so it’s better to remain informed of the major threats to your WhatsApp account. Here are four latest bugs and scams that you must be careful about:
- Blocking feature bug: There was a bug reported earlier this year that makes WhatsApp’s blocking feature inactive. This bug is especially creating a problem for Android users. This bug allows the blocked contacts to send messages to those numbers who have blocked them.
WhatsApp has not come out with any official statement acknowledging this bug. However, there is a way users can avoid messages from their blocked contacts. In order to do so, they first have to unblock the previously blocked contact and block it again to avoid receiving messages. WhatsApp is said to have rolled out a fix for this bug now.
- Text Bomb: Another malicious WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ is out that reportedly blocks access to the apps, and in a worst-case scenario, crashes your entire smartphone. A text bomb is rumored to be targeting both iPhone and Android users.
This program has even forced some users to restart their smartphone. But how does it work? It actually appears like an innocuous string of characters with an emoji at the end and is often received as a forwarded message. The message reads like, “This is very interesting!” The emoji at the end is crying laughing emoji. This text bomb goes by the name of ‘DieHoe’ and targets both Android and iPhone.
- The ‘Pizza Hut’ scam: This message appears more like an advertising scam. The message received on the WhatsApp reads, “Pizza Hut is giving away 4 FREE Large Pizzas to everyone on its 60th Anniversary. Get your 4 free Pizza at http://pizza.iixi.win/.”
When the user clicks on this link, it opens in the browser and asks the user to answer some simple questions. After filling out the questionnaire, it further asks the user to send this message to 7 people to win the fake prize. In this way, this scam keeps snooping the information of the nominated users who click this link.
- The ‘Hang bomb’: While an app to spy on WhatsApp activities can remotely lock a smartphone, this message is reported to ‘hang’ the phone. The users have complained to have ‘hung’ their phone for a few seconds after opening this message. The message reads, “If you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang.”
The message appears as a black icon on the WhatsApp chat threads and clicking on this message freezes the app or makes it unresponsive for a few seconds. It is reported that the message thread is crashing the app due to the blank space between the black dot and the text. When this message is decrypted or converted into an HTML, its text consists of RLM which is ‘right-to-left- mark’. RLM is an invisible formatting character that is used to differentiate between left-to-right and right-to-left text.