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Delete this SMS: Your WhatsApp can be stolen

If you Google how to hack whatsapp ”, in less than 0.4 seconds you get more than 2.5 million results. WhatsApp has the gift of being the most used messaging application in the world, and one of the most popular, since 1/4 of the entire world population uses it every month. But the more than 2 billion active users carry the curse of being one of the favorite apps of cybercriminals, due to the enormous viral reach that WhatsApp offers.

Steal your WhatsApp account with a simple message

In mid-February, when this Coronavirus was something that only affected China, the Civil Guard of Navarra warned of an attempted scam that ran through WhatsApp after receiving several complaints that shared the same starting point. A Phishing campaign (identity theft) that begins by first receiving an SMS message with a code that you have not requested, and then you receive this message on your WhatsApp:

“Hello, I’m sorry, I sent you a 6-digit code by SMS by mistake, can you come to me please? It’s urgent”

The message is sent to you by WhatsApp by a contact that you have in your agenda, an acquaintance with whom you speak through the app, therefore you have no reason to doubt. The problem is that if you send that code, the person on the other side of the conversation can steal your WhatsApp account and take over your number, your contacts and your chats.

The thing works like this:

  • A cybercriminal steals the WhatsApp account of a contact of yours from the app, gaining access to their contact list. Now decide to go for them, you included / a.
  • To achieve this, the guy installs WhatsApp on a device he owns and enters your phone number to associate it with the application
  • The WhatsApp system sends to that number that the hacker tries to register (your number) the verification code he needs for security reasons, to verify that it is the correct user and to finish the installation of the app
  • The hacker knows that you have just received an SMS with a 6-digit code, and using the number that he has taken from one of your contacts, he pretends to be this to ask you to please pass it on.
  • If you do, the cybercriminal will be able to complete the registration of your WhatsApp account on his device, and at that moment he will remove your access to it, having access to your contacts and groups.

In case this message reaches you, delete it immediately and notify your contact to tell him what happens to his account – but not by calling him on his mobile, but at another number. You can also do like this Twitter account and troll the hacker that well.

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