WhatsApp Gold: stick with green, it's a scam

Malware targets popular messaging app, but it's an obvious fake

What could make WhatsApp better? Video chats, higher photo limits and celebrity connections are all being promised by WhatsApp Gold - but, no surprise, it's a scam. 

Reports suggest spam links have been offering downloads to WhatsApp Gold, an exclusive update to the popular messaging app with a host of new - and fictional - features. 

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"Hey Finally Secret Whatsapp golden version has been leaked," the pitch goes. "This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too."

Tech-savvy readers of IT Pro won't need to be warned that clicking random links can lead to malware, especially when the promise at the other end sounds too good to be true - or is written in less than perfect English. 

Such is the case with WhatsApp Gold: head for the download and you risk malware invading your phone. 

The features on offer could well happen in future versions of the messaging app, particularly video calling, but would likely arrive in the existing app rather than require a fresh download. That's the standard update method, and how WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption last month.

If you have followed the link - you don't have to admit it to us - make sure you uninstall anything you did download and run a virus scan. 

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The WhatsApp scam comes as a report reveals it is the most-used messaging app across 109 countries

The Facebook-owned app could get a boost in the UK from Three, which suggested users facing higher texting bills switch to a messaging app such as WhatsApp instead

Ryan O'Leary, Vice President of WhiteHat Security's Threat Research Centre told IT Pro that once the user clicks on the malicious link any number of attacks can be launched.

"Typically, they start by downloading malware onto the victim's phone, which allows the attacker to intercept messages, calls and even look at personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and phone numbers. The attacker could also load other malware such as viruses, trojans or rootkits," he said.

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