By Gaby Ndongo (2 mins read)
WhatsApp does not have a new version called “WhatsApp Gold”, but it is rather a malware that can damage one’s gadget or steal data found in the device, warns fact-checking organisation Africa Check.
What happens is the app user receives a message about an update from a malicious link. The link then leads to a website consisting of malware.
“The term malware is a contraction of malicious software. … malware is any piece of software that was written with the intent of damaging devices, stealing data, and generally causing a mess. Viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware are among the different kinds of malware,” according to software developer AVG.
“The upgrade, called WhatsApp Gold, apparently gives you the ability to hold video chats, send 100 pictures at once, and delete messages hours after you have sent them,” reports The Sun.
A warning has been disseminated in South Africa’s social media since Monday, 25th November, but the hoax has been around from 2016 in areas such as Britain.
WhatsApp’s updates automatically occur through applications’ stores such as Google Play and App Store for Android and Apple devices, respectively. In most instances, you are informed of the specific update by the store before it starts.
Africa Check advises people to “ignore and immediately delete the message”. Those who follow its link, and their devices end up being infected by the malware, should download these free of charge antiviruses: Sophos, AVG and Avast.
On the other hand, WhatsApp Plus does not also exist. The only different type of WhatsApp on the market – apart from the ordinary, free one – is WhatsApp Business App.
Tips to prevent you from getting malware
Cambridge News has the following:
- Always make sure you have the latest version of software and antivirus installed, for increased protection.
- Be careful when downloading new apps as rogue ones can appear in legitimate app stores as well as unofficial online stores.
- Always check reviews and ratings as well as developer information before downloading a new app.
- If your battery suddenly starts draining really fast, it may be a malware problem.
- Make sure to check your phone bill online periodically – more often than once a month. This will help you keep tabs on any suspicious activity. TOJ
Reporting by Gaby Ndongo. Editing by Kupakwashe Kambasha. Feature image: WhatsApp. Image obtained from Pexels.