WhatsApp scam alert: If you see this message from anyone (even family), delete it!

A WhatsApp scam where users are in for another scam. As we practice social distancing we turned to online services and social media. We need to also be careful as there’s a new scam on WhatsApp.

It started earlier this year though. But now it’s back on full throttle. This scam, if successful, allows the hacker to gain full access to every WhatsApp message, photo or video you’ve ever sent.

This scam could enable them to talk to your nearest and dearest, leaving friends and family at risk. What makes this attack more sinister is that it works via the official WhatsApp two-factor system. So, it’s not something that can simply be patched or tweaked by the app in a future update.

With two factor authentication, a six digit code is sent your registered number for verification. This code is very important and with it, you can easily get hacked.

So what does the hackers do? First, they need your number. Maybe someone on your contact or in a group you’re in give his/her phone for repairs or puts in somewhere or via a sim swap (that regulators, sometimes don’t check properly before doing) and the hackers gets a hold of it. Next they get a fresh copy of WhatsApp on another phone. They need your 6 digit code. Now they know it won’t go to them, it’ll come to you; the owner of the phone number.

Next, the hackers will send a text to you – sometimes it’s like this:

“Hey I just created a group for us in the department. We want to collectively discuss issues on how we can work better, can I add you?”

With this you’ll be told to send back a code that’ll be sent to you shortly.

This is for making an excuse for the six-digit code being sent to you – and asking you to forward it. As soon as you send them the code, WhatsApp believes that it’s a genuine attempt to login to your account and will enable the chat on the hackers’ smartphone. As far as your contacts are concerned, the hackers are now you and can continue to send texts in your WhatsApp conversations, or group chats.

Another smartphone app that has seen a monumental spike in usage following the strict lockdown procedures introduced in the UK, Europe, and United States following the novel coronavirus pandemic is Houseparty. The app, which is owned by Epic Games, allows users to drop-in and drop-out of video chats with friends and play games, including a trivia quiz and a Pictionary-style game. However, thousands of peoples are now warning of a hack in Houseparty – telling people to log out and delete the app immediately.

Now back to the WhatsApp scam. Now you’re informed. You see messages asking you to send details, DON’T. Just ignore and delete the message immediately.

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