Is WhatsApp Safe? 5 Scams, Threats, and Security Risks to Know About
With over 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications in the world. However, its popularity also makes it a target for scammers, hackers, and other malicious actors. If you’re a WhatsApp user, here are five scams, threats, and security risks you should be aware of.
1. WhatsApp Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are one of the most common ways hackers try to steal personal information from victims. In a WhatsApp phishing scam, a hacker sends a message to the victim pretending to be a company, service, or someone they know. The message usually contains a link that, once clicked, takes the victim to a fake website designed to steal their login credentials, credit card information, or other sensitive data. To avoid WhatsApp phishing scams, never click on links from unknown sources and always double-check the sender’s identity before sharing any information over WhatsApp.
2. Fake WhatsApp Apps
There are many fake WhatsApp apps on the internet that look and function like the real WhatsApp but are actually designed to steal users’ personal information or install malware on their devices. Some fake WhatsApp apps also ask for permissions they don’t need, like access to your contacts, photos, or microphone. To avoid fake WhatsApp apps, always download the app from the official app store, and be suspicious of any app that asks for permissions it doesn’t need.
3. WhatsApp Group Chats
WhatsApp group chats are a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family, but they also present security risks. When you join a WhatsApp group chat, you’re giving other members access to your phone number and profile picture. If a member of the group chat is a hacker, they could use this information to launch a cyber-attack against you. To protect yourself in WhatsApp group chats, only join groups with people you trust, and don’t share personal information unless you’re certain it’s safe to do so.
4. WhatsApp Voice Phishing (Vishing)
Voice phishing, also known as vishing, is a social engineering technique that uses a phone call to trick victims into revealing sensitive information like their credit card numbers, login credentials, or social security numbers. In a WhatsApp voice phishing scam, the attacker calls the victim pretending to be a customer service representative from a company the victim uses. To avoid WhatsApp voice phishing scams, never share sensitive information over the phone unless you’re certain it’s a legitimate call from a trustworthy company.
5. WhatsApp Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files or locks them out of their device until they pay a ransom to the attacker. In a WhatsApp ransomware attack, the victim receives a message containing a link that, once clicked, downloads and installs the ransomware on their device. The attacker then demands a ransom in exchange for restoring the victim’s files or device access. To avoid WhatsApp ransomware attacks, never click on suspicious links or download files from unknown sources.