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Some users of the WhatsApp messaging service have had their banking credentials stolen by hackers. Cybercriminals are sending a virus to WhatsApp customers disguised as legitimate-looking documents.
How the latest WhatsApp scam works
Hackers are beginning to send malicious links in the form of Microsoft Excel or PDF files, or a Word document. If you click on the malicious link, the virus allows the scammer to browse through your computer or wireless device with the goal of stealing your banking credentials, including PIN codes, and other personal information from your gadget.
As this point in time the malicious files are made to appear as if they are coming from official government agencies in India: the Indian National Defense Academy (NDA) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Obviously, they are not.
The bad news is that this is a relatively easy piece of malware to replicate. Investigators are expecting this malware to morph into versions that appear to be coming from other countries as well, and targeting IP addresses within that country. It’s better to know about these scams ahead of time before they show up on your gadget.
If you use WhatsApp, here are a couple safety tips to avoid this type of scam:
- Be cautious with links – Excel, Word and PDF files can contain macro viruses. For your gadget to be infected, you need to download and open the malicious file. You should never download an attachment unless you were expecting it. If you weren’t expecting an attachment file, but it came from someone you know, check with them before downloading it. If it’s from someone you don’t know, delete it. Legitimate companies don’t normally send unsolicited messages with attachments.
- Don’t turn on macros – The latest versions of Excel and Word have macros turned off by default, specifically to avoid viruses. If you open a file that includes macros, Excel or Word will ask if you want to turn macros on. Always click “No.”
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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