WhatsApp Pink: The malware that defies common sense

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If installed; the fake + malicious WhatsApp pink app takes full control of a targeted device.

An unusual baiting technique has appeared in some parts of the world with WhatsApp users receiving links that claim to turn the application’s theme from its trademark green to pink. Simultaneously, it also promises ‘‘new features” that have not been specified.

Experts have naturally warned users of the messaging application to refrain from opening any such link, though it beggars belief that such a reminder would even be needed!

The concerning part is that the link has been masked as an “official update” from WhatsApp which is making people oblivious to the malicious intent behind the circulation of the link.

Users clicking on the link have seen their phones hacked and losing access to their Whatsapp accounts altogether.

To make matters worse, many users have passed on the link to friends and family, keen to share the latest “offering” from Facebook Inc.

Users clicking on the link have seen their phones hacked and losing access to their Whatsapp accounts altogether.

When contacted by security journalists, Whatsapp released a statement saying, “Anyone can get an unusual, uncharacteristic or suspicious message on any service, including email, and anytime that happens we strongly encourage everyone to use caution before responding or engaging. On WhatsApp in particular, we also recommend that people use the tools that we provide within the app to send us a report, report a contact, or block contact.”

The incident is made most troubling by how blatantly fake and clunky the attempts were. Yet – as the history of cybercrime on the internet has taught us – sometimes threat actors don’t have a terribly high bar to reach to be able to dupe unsuspecting people. The adage about common sense comes to mind.

While the incident hasn’t caught too many Australians with their pants down, it has had a bigger impact in parts of South-East Asia.

The Nigerian prince would be turning in his non-existent grave!

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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