Use WhatsApp? Experts just warned about a new threat coming to your text messages soon
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WhatsApp has stuck with its trusty trademark shade of green for years. But if you’re not a fan of the colour, it might be tempting to click a link from a friend or colleague inviting you to switch to WhatsApp In Pink.
As the imaginative name suggests, this claims to be a version of the world’s most popular messaging service with the green expunged and replaced with a vibrant shade of pink. Unfortunately, this is not a new colour option for WhatsApp users. Instead, it’s a scam designed to wrestle complete access to your smartphone from you.
With access to everything stored on your device, hackers could steal contact information for friends and family – allowing them to send them the link and continue to spread WhatsApp Pink, copy photos and videos from your device, siphon credit card information and other personal details, and much more.
WhatsApp users have highlighted the new scam to bring awareness to the ploy, which is currently being used by cyber crooks worldwide. The link sends users to a webpage to download an APK to their smartphone. APKs are the file used to package Android apps. While it’s possible to download apps from the web to your Android phone, most security experts warn against this practice unless you really know what you’re doing – or who you’re downloading from.
While Google scans every Android app uploaded to its Play Store for malware (and even then, some scam apps manage to slip through the net!), anyone can upload a fraudulent app to the web without any checks – and start sending out the link to unsuspecting users. And that seems to be exactly what has happened with the WhatsApp In Pink attack.
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Internet security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia highlighted the latest scam, posting on Twitter: “Beware of WhatsApp Pink!! A Virus is being spread in WhatsApp groups with an APK download link. Don’t click any link with the name of WhatsApp Pink. Complete access to your phone will be lost.”
Unfortunately, for fans of pink, WhatsApp doesn’t allow users to customise the green shade of its messaging app. While you can set custom background images for your chat windows, and choose between a light and dark theme for the entire app… there’s still plenty of green elements to be found within the service.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery when sending texts, videos, and documents to friends, it might be worth looking for an alternative chat app. At least that way you’re guaranteed to keep your private data out of the hands of hackers, something that’s far from guaranteed with WhatsApp In Pink.
If you have already downloaded the APK to your Android handset, or know friends and family who have fallen for this trick. Don’t panic. Express.co.uk has a few simple steps to help, which you can find here: Think you’ve been targeted by an online SCAM? Follow these simple steps to stay safe.
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