WHATSAPP users are being warned about a nasty scam that could lock you out of your account and hand it over to a hacker.
The old scam involves a message that’s seemingly from your friend and has reared its ugly head again as distressed users take to social media to complain.
One WhatsApp user tweeted: “3 members of my family have lost access to their WhatsApp this morning!
“Hackers send a text message from WA with a verification code, then a WhatsApp text from someone you know saying they desperately need the code.
“DO NOT SEND THE CODE OR CLICK THE LINK.”
The cybercrime involves a hacker posing as a friend in order to gain access to a victim’s account.
The scam can lock you out of your account for goodCredit: Alamy
The hacker could then use a victim’s account to launch attacks on other people.
The attack revolves around the six-digit verification code that WhatsApp gives out when you want to regain access to your account.
It also involves a hacker taking control of one of your contact’s WhatsApp accounts and messaging you pretending to be them.
The hacker will message pretending to be your friend around the same time you get a text or email from WhatsApp with a verification code that the hacker has requested by pretending to be you.
This code is only given when you try and make changes to your account.
The hacker – posing as your friend – will pretend they’ve accidentally asked for the verification code to be sent to your number and will ask you to send it over.
You should never share the six-digit code with anyone.
If you do, the hacker will be able to take over your account.
You’ll no longer have access to your account and the hacker can try and scam your friends.
If you do get a suspicious message from a friend, try ringing them to see if you can talk to them in person and verify what is going on.
It’s also advisable to turn on two-step verification so your WhatsApp is also protected by a PIN.
According to The Express, Ray Walsh, Digital Privacy Expert at ProPrivacy, explained: “WhatsApp users need to be on the lookout for a worrying new scam that is allowing cybercriminals to hack into people’s WhatsApp accounts.
“Anybody who receives a message out of the blue with a one-time PIN code should be extremely wary because this is how the attack starts.
“Following the receipt of the unexpected OTP code, the hacker will send the victim a direct message claiming to be their friend or contact. They will then ask to be forwarded the code by claiming to have mistakenly sent it to them.
“That code is actually the two-factor authentication code for accessing the victim’s WhatsApp account, and once the victim forwards it to the hacker they will use it to hack into their account.
“Always be on the lookout for any text messages that contain an OTP code and never, ever forward or screenshot or otherwise pass those codes on to anybody, no matter how genuine they sound.”
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here’s what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
In other news, time is almost up for Internet Explorer as Microsoft is set to drop it after 25 years.
Microsoft Teams just got some new features that could help it rival WhatsApp.
And, Facebook is facing backlash in the US over plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13.
Have you spotted any WhatsApp scam messages recently? Let us know in the comments…
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