WhatsApp is the leading messaging application when it comes to global popularity.
Founded in 2009, the chat app has slowly found its way into all markets across the globe and is now the go-to app when it comes to instant messaging, voice calling as well as video calling.
Being an internet based application, WhatsApp’s popularity has meant that it has become a major target for scammers who are usually targeting innocent users of the app. The latest attempt to trick users into installing malicious software on their gadgets involves a fake message that is doing rounds suggesting that users can easily change their app’s appearance by introducing a variety of colors.
The fake message, which is obviously not coming from the main Facebook team states that users can now change the appearance of WhatsApp and use it with their favorite color. To quote the message, it says that “I love WhatsApp new colors” and includes a link that one is supposed to click on in order to get the new colors.
The unsuspecting WhatsApp user is then asked to share the message with up to 12 friends in order to make the new feature work on their app. When one has been “verified” to start using the multiple colors on the app, they are further told that the feature will only work on a desktop and in order to make it work, they are asked to download and install an extension known as BlackWhats, which is available via the Chrome Web Store.
Despite all the hassles, the message and link included in it are not legit and have nothing to do with the Facebook-owned application. If anything, this is a malicious attempt by a scammer who wants to find an easy way of infecting at least 12 people with malware at the same time.
As noted at the beginning, WhatsApp is a global force when it comes to instant messaging, boasting a user base that is over 1 billion people. Most of these people are not tech savvy and as such, scammers find it easy to trick then with simple messages that carry some would-be enticing features. Earlier this year, an almost similar case arose where a message started trending warning WhatsApp users that they will start paying for the services of the app in the coming days.
In order to avoid this payment, the same message further claimed that users should forward it to at least 10 people. Some people out there still don’t know that WhatsApp is a completely free app to download and use. All one needs is an internet connection, which meant that this was just another hoax.
In order to curb such activities, WhatsApp has offered a piece of advice, urging the millions who use the app not to interact or forward any message that instructs them to do so or even those that come with some rewards and claiming to be from the company itself. If anything, the company says that anyone who sends you such a malicious message should be blocked from your contacts. In addition, you need to delete the message in question so as to avoid any instances of accidentally opening the link.
As at the time of this writing, Google has removed the malicious BlackWhats extension from its official Chrome Store, which means that this scam is no longer a threat. However, one thing you need to note is that WhatsApp makes new features available to its users via software updates. These updates do not come to you as links with some instructions, rather, you will be notified via the Google Play Store that there is an updated version of the app for you to download and install.
You can also visit the official WhatsApp FAQ page for more details on how to deal with scams and spam.