Beware of this malware on WhatsApp

Over the last few days, many posted on social media, including on Twitter, seeking clarity about this malware.

By Author  |  Published: 7th Jan 2019  12:15 amUpdated: 7th Jan 2019  12:50 am

Hyderabad: The ‘WhatsApp Gold’ scare is back to make users of the free messaging app apprehensive about the malware being sent in the form of a video. Over the last few days, many posted on social media, including on Twitter, seeking clarity about this.

The message reads: “If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out from WhatsApp called ‘martinelli’. Do not open it. It hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word”.

According to cybercrime expert and Hyderabad Security Cluster CEO, Zaki Qureshey, there is certainly no indication that the company was sending any video. “WhatsApp does not send videos at all. This is a long running scam that suggests there is a premium version of the application that will unlock extra features and abilities. But, there is no such thing. WhatsApp is free as of now and this is not expected to change anytime soon,” he said.

According to fact-checking website Snopes, this message is a hoax with no existence of the video as being circulated on WhatsApp or other social media platforms. In fact, no user reported receiving the video. It further notes that this incident first took place in 2017 in Spain.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police KCS Raghu Vir said they did not receive any such complaint about any gadget getting hacked by the malware, WhatsApp Gold. Any updates to WhatsApp will usually happen automatically through the app itself, Zaki said. He cautioned against clicking on links embedded in messages that promise something extra. “If you receive such a message, you should ignore it and delete it immediately,” he said.

What is malware
A malware is software designed to disrupt, damage or gain illegal access to a system. Hackers send the malware through emails, videos and messages. When the link is downloaded, they gain illegal access by opening a backdoor to steal data from the gadget.

Each form of malware has its own way of infecting and damaging computers and data, and so each one requires a different malware removal method. Avoiding suspicious emails, links or websites are good online habits to cultivate, but will only get you so far — attackers can sometimes compromise even legitimate websites.