Not just Coronavirus, there’s another virus that Indians must be wary of. Even as COVID-19 continues to wreck havoc in the real world, there is another virus on the prowl, called WhatsApp Pink, that can potentially give hackers complete control over your mobile devices. Since WhatsApp is one of the most widely used instant messaging applications in the country, severity of the virus and its impact on your digital life cannot be overstated.
What is WhatsApp Pink?
A link is being circulated allegedly in WhatsApp groups under the guise of an official-looking WhatsApp announcement. The draw here is that WhatsApp users are lured by the promise of a new theme, which is as the name suggests, “pink”. In other words, users are told their WhatsApp theme can be changed through the link being circulated. There is also a promise of some extra features that they will get access to post an update.
In reality, the link takes users to a malicious website, that has got nothing to do with WhatsApp or parent company Facebook. There awaits an APK file, again with no relation to WhatsApp, that users may be tricked into downloading and subsequently installing on their devices.
The information regarding this circulation has been shared by a cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia via Twitter where he has urged people to be beware of such links frequenting WhatsApp groups.
How can it infect your phone?
The screenshots shared by Rajaharia show how the virus can infect a phone. This comes with an APK link asking people to install the new features on their phone. Jain added that by downloading these malicious links/ apps, devices can be compromised and personal data like photos, SMS, contacts can be stolen. Also, there are keyboard based malwares that can track everything which is typed. Thus, these can be used to capture and steal banking passwords. The new update announcement to change the green theme to pink or any other colour is also a case of malware.
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. Share with All..#InfoSec #Virus @IndianCERT @internetfreedom @jackerhack @sanjg2k1 pic.twitter.com/KbbtK536F2
— Rajshekhar Rajaharia (@rajaharia) April 17, 2021
Steps to stay safe online
The best way to stay safe online is never to click or download such links or apps. The official stores allow people to download authentic apps, therefore, it is always recommended to download from Google Play Store or Apple App Store rather than trusting any link. Also, make sure that the links you open are secure, which can be checked via looking at the lock sign at the beginning of the URL.
Meanwhile Whatsapp in a statement has said “anyone can get an unusual, uncharacteristic or suspicious message on any service, including email, and anytime that happens we strongly encourage everyone to use caution before responding or engaging. On WhatsApp in particular, we also recommend that people use the tools that we provide within the app to send us a report, report a contact or block contact.”