As soon as an app or service is popular, cyber criminals try to take advantage of users through it. WhatsApp is now falling prey to such criminals, who have come up with something called WhatsApp Gold. However, in reality WhatsApp Gold is a scam aimed at stealing private data of users, including their private images and videos.
The Independent has reported that many WhatsApp users are receiving messages to upgrade to an exclusive version of the app called WhatsApp Gold. The spammers send a link in the message through which they ask the user to upgrade the app, claiming that this exclusive version was earlier only available to top celebrities. It also promises them new features like free calling, new themes, ability to send bulk pictures, new emojis, extended security measures and more customising options.
If a user downloads the app update, the app code infects the phone with a malware that could steal user data, track user activities and even get personal details stored in other apps on the phone.
Earlier, this scam was running under the name of WhatsApp Plus, where users got messages to upgrade to the "plus" version. But, WhatsApp learnt about it and started scanning for it on the phone. If the service now finds WhatsApp Plus on any device, it automatically bans the user from the chat network and requests them to uninstall this unauthorised version. It also suggests users to wait for 24 hours before downloading the original version from the Google Play store.
WhatsApp had earlier warned users against such scams. However, with a lot of not-so-tech-savvy users accessing WhatsApp, cyber criminals continue to come up with new exploits.