Whatsapp malware was seen in 2015, and it will be certainly active in 2016. Whatsapp viruses and malware are made by cybercriminals which want to earn an online revenue by infecting devices of unaware Whatsapp users. They often use various techniques and methods to find and infect devices of unaware users.
How do they search the web
Cybercriminals can find their way on the internet, and if they cannot find it, they will hire someone which will. The cybercriminals mainly focus on environments which are very crowded – so environments like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are certainly environments which cybercriminals focus.
But also environments which provide chat / cam services are targeted by cybercriminals. On these environments, they will search for young people or adults that are easily influenced or triggered. The teenagers and young-adults are triggered with shocking / amazing videos which are hosted on external websites (so not on Facebook.com etc).
The cybercriminals will try to lure unaware users into a conversation or great deal, and in that process the cybercriminal will try to infect the unaware users with the Whatsapp virus – which is actually an Trojan that allows the cybercriminal to fully control the infected device.
How do they try to infect Whatsapp devices with viruses and malware
Cybercriminals are only limited by their own imagination – a cybercriminal or hacker can try to infect devices in 1001 ways. Below, we have highlighted some of the most used methods.
The cybercriminal will setup an environment which claims to hold a whatsapp plugin that enhances the original Whatsapp application on the device – and the enhancement could be anything, like:
- More colors
- Video chat
- Send forward messages
Fake videos / Malicious websites
Another method which is used by cybercriminals to infect devices of unaware Whatsapp users, is by claiming that something shocking, extreme, amazing has happened and that the user has to view the video on an external website. Once the user lands on the external website, the user/victim can be forced to perform actions in order to be able to view the video. In the process of getting the video to start, the victim might have infected his/her own device with the ‘Whatsapp virus’.
How can you protect yourself
You can protect yourself and your device by using an antivirus application on your smartphone, tablet and computer. Lots of smartphone malware is detected by smartphone antivirus products.
The next step is to take security serious – in order to stay secure, you will need to keep yourself up to date on potential threats which circulate on the internet, it is also important to understand why people are getting their devices infected with malware.
It is often because:
- They do not update their device to the latest software
- They use insecure credentials
- They do not use two-factor authentication
- They click on any link which pop-ups on their screen without checking the “real” domain
How the clean up if you have been infected
If you can install an antivirus on your smartphone, I recommend to allow the antivirus to do its job – if it is impossible to install an antivirus on the smartphone, reset the smartphone to factory defaults to be sure that is has been deleted. Just do note that malware can survive factory resets.