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Can downloading WhatsApp photo or video infect your phone with virus? Not likely but be careful

The reports had stated that some WhatsApp has lost access to their account after clicking on malicious links or images they have received as messages.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | February 18, 2021 | Updated 10:41 IST

Highlights

  • There have been several reports about an Android worm being spread through WhatsApp.
  • Cybercriminals are always looking to target new users to collect their sensitive information.
  • But the best way to keep oneself secure is by not interacting with any suspicious accounts.

There have been several reports about an Android worm being spread through WhatsApp. The reports had stated that some WhatsApp has lost access to their account after clicking on malicious links or images they have received as messages. Cybercriminals are always looking to target new users to collect their sensitive information. But the best way to keep oneself secure is by not interacting with any suspicious accounts.

As per reports, the malware that gets installed in a users' device infects their contact list and often takes away their access to the account. The malware, known as "Android Worm" enters users' phone as a message and then infects their contact list without them knowing anything about it. It was reported that users had received messages on WhatsApp to download a link to win a free smartphone. When the users tried to claim their smartphones, they were redirected to a fake Google Play Page and given an impression that a Huawei app is being downloaded.

Security researcher Lukas Stefanko was the first one to report about the malware that is infecting the users. He shared a video explaining how the malware infects a device and wrote, "Android WhatsApp Worm? Malware spreads via victim's WhatsApp by automatically replying to any received WhatsApp message notification with a link to malicious Huawei Mobile app. The message is sent only once per hour to the same contact. It looks to be adware or subscription scam."

However, Wabetainfo, the WhatsApp features tracker had said that the news is not true. "Some websites are reporting a virus that can be received through a WhatsApp message, in particular, malware will be installed on your phone after downloading an image. It's true that we shouldn't open suspicious links but, in this case, it's another fake news," the site said. While a link can infect a user, the chances of a malicious page doing the same is highly unlikely.

WhatsApp has often been used to dupe people. Users often do not understand whether the message they are receiving on the app is by an authentic source or not. Most messages are too realistic and hence the users fall into the trap. The cybercriminals create messages that promise either a gift, free hotel stay, or something that does not cost money. Their messages are always sent along with a link. The link when clicked upon redirects users to fake sites and often ends up collecting their sensitive information like bank card details, phone numbers, and more. So the only way to steer clear of all these spammy messages is by not interacting with them at all. When you receive a message that offers something for free, please do not reply to it or click on the link. Interact with the users only if you cross-check and feel that it is from an authentic source.

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