In the midst of a global alert about the WannaCry infection, a scam update to one of the most popular apps that users access over and over again on a daily basis has come to throw further fuel on the fire. We’re talking about WhatsApp, the messaging app used by about a billion users around the globe that is definitely a guaranteed ATM for hackers who want to seize data and, above all, monetize their illegal activities.
We’ve become accustomed to receiving update after update regarding the app in question and these have made it increasingly richer in services and customizable. Ultimately it seems that WhatsApp will allow you to customize the colors so as to indulge the aesthetic taste of users: it is not true!!! This is a subtle and very dangerous scam as it has a very high potential to spread in terms of reach and speed. Hackers, this time, have precisely spread a message announcing a momentous change, the possibility of changing the colors of the chat interface. Very simply, the scam works like this: you receive a message from one of our contacts inviting you to click on “шһатѕарр.com” (Cyrillic alphabet characters are used) after entering your personal data and initiating the chain to all contacts we have in our address book. The spread, therefore, is very rapid and uncontrollable: when you access the link, you are redirected (obviously) to a scam site that activates unsolicited paid services. Once you land on the site you are also prompted to install a malicious Google Chrome extension.
Any antivirus, even those built into the browser, can block you before you log in. A mechanism that has been used numerous times in the past, particularly for PayPal-related scams. But to stay safe you should always avoid clicking on links included in such chains and never forward them to other contacts.
In any case, always remember that updates always go through the app’s official stores.