All that glitters aren’t gold, and WhatsApp Gold seems to be the perfect real-world analogy of the age adage at the moment.
All of it started with an innocent looking message sent via the messaging app that lured users with lofty promises of enhanced features with the Gold version. The features included the ability to send 100 images at a time, video calling, new emoji, enhanced security along with the option to change the standard WhatsApp theme and so on.
To further lend credibility to its authenticity, the message also claimed that the update was so far available only to the celebrities and is being made available to select users only, and that too, exclusively via invitation.
The message contains a link, which the users are supposed to click in order to obtain the exclusive (fraud) version of WhatsApp. Though the link leads to a 404 error message, the damage is already done. The malware will have unauthorised access the entire user data stored on the cell phone.
WhatsApp, on its part, has come out strongly against the message and has urged its regular users to exercise caution before falling for such scams. WhatsApp team has also advised its users to uninstall the app and wait for at least 24 hours before they start using the official WhatsApp again.
WhatsApp has recommended avoiding falling for such messages, no matter how genuine it might look. The company also said that it would only stick to email as the official communication channels rather than messaging its own clients. In addition, users should stick to official app sources such as the Apple Store for iOS or Google Play Store for Android to download the authentic version of the app.
The ongoing WhatsApp Gold saga also brings back memories of the WhatsApp Plus scam that had surfaced earlier. The Plus version has already been ruled out illegitimate. However, the Gold version seems to have a more devastating effect as it manages to infect mobile phones with malware.
However, it’s not known at the moment how many of regular WhatsApp users are tricked to fall for this scam named WhatsApp Gold – something that’s impersonating an exclusive (yet forged) version of the app.