WhatsApp users are, once again, coming under attack from nasty scam and it’s definitely one to watch out for. The infamous six-digit code attack was first spotted a few years ago but it seems hackers are bringing it back and it could lead to your private messages being handed to cyber criminals.
According the security team at Action Fraud UK, this online assault has begun picking up pace again with a number of WhatsApp users informing the service that they have been targeted.
“Action Fraud has received reports relating to a scam that steals access to a WhatsApp user’s account,” the cyber experts reveled in a blog post.
So how does this scam work and what happens if you become a victim? The whole attack will start with a very innocent message arriving in WhatsApp chats.
It will be from a real friend, listed in your contacts, who will state that they have bought a new phone and have had a WhatsApp security code to sent your device by mistake.
At the same time, your device will ping and and six-digit code will be displayed on the screen. The friend will then ask that this unique number is forwarded to their phone. It all seems incredibly harmless but it’s actually an elaborate hoax and sending that code will give the crook full access to your chats.
That’s because the friend that has messaged you will have already become a victim of the scam with the hackers then using this account to fool more people. The reason they want the code is that this is what WhatsApp sends out when someone wants to access the service from a new device.
As soon as it’s sent, WhatsApp believes that it’s a genuine attempt to log in to your account. Once activated the cyber thieves can message your contacts and start conversations, or join group chats.
Using this method, criminals could easily target friends and family with the this hack often being used to ask for money transfers via services such as Paypal. To make matters worse, users also often find themselves locked out of their own WhatsApp account for hours making it hard to warn people that they have been targeted.
Action fraud has now released some vital advice that all WhatsApp users should know to avoid becoming a victim of this attack.
What you need to do
• Set up two-step verification to give an extra layer of protection to your account: Tap Settings > Account >Two-step verification > Enable.
• THINK. CALL. If a family member or friend makes an unusual request on WhatsApp, always call the person to confirm their identity.
• Never share your account’s activation code (that’s the 6 digit code you receive via SMS)
• You can report spam messages or block a sender within WhatsApp. Press and hold on the message bubble, select ‘Report’ and then follow the instructions.