An email claiming to feature a new voicemail from WhatsApp is nothing but a malware scam that targets unsuspecting internet users.
A “Play” button is featured in the email, and when clicked, users are taken to a malicious website that tricks them into downloading malware to their device.
The scam is complex enough that the type of malware delivered is based on the device being used. That means mobile device users will receive different malware than desktop users.
Google Android users are among the most susceptible to the WhatsApp voicemail scam. After an Android users clicks the link, a filed called “Browser 6.5” is installed. To install the “browser” users are asked to click the “Agree” button at which time text messages are sent to premium rate phone numbers. Those users are then charged for each service after the text messages are delivered.
Adding another layer to the WhatsApp scam, once installed, hackers attempt to add additional malware to a users device.
The hackers also target jailbroken iPhone devices, which can install apps outside of the Apple App Store. Users with non-jailbroken iPhones have not reported any problems at this time since their devices offer better failsafes against mobile hacking attempts.
Apple desktop users are currently taken to a page which claims that the software is “not compatible” with their operating system.
While Apple desktop, laptop and smartphone users seem to be safeguarded at this time, I still suggest avoiding the play button at all costs. There is no guarantee that the hacking attempt will not become more complex in the future and target other devices that are not yet affected.
Have you been a victim of the WhatsApp email hoax? Share any changes to this scam that you might find in your own emails.