WhatsApp user? Your money and identity under attack, says report; stay safe, here is how to do it right
Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.WhatsApp users have just been warned that they are increasingly being attacked by scamsters who are managing to steal their money and even identities (ID) without their knowledge. It is a well-known fact that criminals will always pick platforms and services that are widely used in order to maximise the impact of their attacks. This is one of the reasons why Microsoft Windows, the world’s most widely used desktop operating system has more viruses and malware compared to any other operating system. Similarly, the most widely used encrypted messaging service, WhatsApp, is becoming a bigger target for attackers as it grows in popularity around the world, according to researchers.
Phishing attack: "Phishing attacks are the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source. It is usually done through email. The goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card and login information, or to install malware on the victim’s machine," Cisco says. Using a smartphone can be risky if users are not careful, thanks to the existence of several different forms of malware that can easily infect insecure devices. However, malicious agents are now increasingly targeting users with phishing attacks. A phishing attack also tricks a user into entering their personal financial information on a misleading fake website or app. According to researchers at security firm Kaspersky, WhatsApp users are being targeted with an increasing number of scams and fraudulent links.
Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.
Modus operandi: The report shows how WhatsApp users are targeted. In its report on spam and phishing for Q2 2021, the security firm stated that common tricks are used to fool users into parting with their money. This includes luring them with the promise of a prize. Some scams even fool users into thinking they have won a large sum of money, but only if the user sends them some money first. Another variation of this scam is fraudsters offering ‘bidding’ on failed packages that could not be delivered to the original recipient -- while users pay for these, they never get the actual product even if they ‘win’ the so-called lottery.
One of the scams described by Kaspersky is a fake website created by scammers that reportedly allows users to chat with “beautiful strangers” but takes them to a fake Facebook login page instead. Similarly, scammers are sending users fake emails with links to WhatsApp “voicemail” that instead downloads malware to their computer or phone.
How WhatsApp users can stay safe: In order to stay safe, WhatsApp users must beware of any and all links they receive on their smartphones and they should make sure that they only open attachments or click on links from trusted sources.
What WhatsApp users must never do: The most important thing to keep in mind is that there are no free lunches, so if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Entering their email and password in a random app or providing bank data to an unknown website is a recipe for disaster and users must be wary of such fraudulent tactics while using their smartphones, in order to stay safe.