Shock WhatsApp scam allows strangers to read your chats, and that’s not the worst

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WhatsApp users are warned of a shocking new scam (Image: GETTY)

WhatsApp users have been turned red again after researchers discovered a nasty new scam capable of hacking into your private conversations and stealing money from fans of the chat app. The latest threat was discovered by Kaspersky’s cybersecurity team, who discovered that malicious code is distributed through a modified and unofficial version of WhatsApp.

While WhatsApp is completely free to use and download on both iPhone and Android, some users are often tempted by modified versions of the app available through online app stores. These unofficial apps promise to offer exciting new features not found in Facebook’s original app, such as the ability to check when contacts were last online – without revealing your own presence, respond to messages left by other users. removed and much more.

However, installing these applications can be fraught with dangers that can leave users with countless nightmares. One app, called FMWhatsapp, has recently been the target of nasty malware – dubbed the Triada Mobile Trojan – and it can cause serious damage to devices.

Once infected, the virus starts to launch endless unwanted ads on the screen that cannot be disabled.

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Worse, users are then signed up for expensive subscription services without their consent. In fact, the whole process takes place in an invisible window with an automatic tap on the ‘Subscribe’ button.

Perhaps the most serious part of the attack is that it can also let total strangers read and intercept personal chats sent through the popular service.

Igor Golovin, security expert at Kaspersky, said of the discovery: “With this app, it is difficult for users to recognize the potential threat, because the mod application actually does what is suggested – it adds extra features. However, we have seen how cyber criminals have started proliferating malicious files through the ad units in such apps.

“Therefore, we recommend that you only use messenger software downloaded from official app stores. They may lack some extra features, but they won’t install a ton of malware on your smartphone.”

In addition to tracking down the threat, Kaspersky experts have also provided guidance to help WhatsApp users stay safe. This includes…

• Only install applications from official stores and trusted sources

• Remember to check what permissions you give installed applications – some can be very dangerous

• Install a reliable mobile antivirus on your smartphone. It will detect and prevent possible threats.

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