WhatsApp 'New Voicemail' Malware Email
Email purporting to be from cross platform IM application WhatsApp claims that the recipient has a new voicemail that can be accessed by clicking the "Play" button in the message.
© Depositphotos.com/ OneO2dp
The email is not from WhatsApp. Clicking the "Play" button will open a malicious website that tries to trick you into downloading malware to your device.
WhatsApp Messaging Service
This message, which masquerades as a notification from cross platform IM application WhatsApp, informs recipients that they have a new voicemail. The message includes a "Play" button that will supposedly allow recipients to listen to their voicemail message.
However, the email is not from WhatsApp and pressing the "Play" button will not access a voicemail message as claimed. In fact, clicking "Play" will take users to fraudulent websites where they may be tricked into downloading malware.
Exactly what type of malware gets downloaded will depend on the device the recipient is using.
Windows users may be tricked into visiting a compromised website and downloading the malware.
If the link is clicked from an Android device, the malicious site will download and install a file called "Browser 6.5”. If users then click an "Agree" button in the "browser", text messages will be sent to premium rate phone numbers. The app will also try to convince users to download another malicious app. Some versions may trick users into downloading other types of Android malware.
If users have a jailbroken iPhone, they may also inadvertently download a version of the malicious app. Because iPhone apps can only be installed via the official Apple app store, users with non-jailbroken iPhones should not be affected.
Apple computer users who click the "Play" button will be taken to a webpage that informs them that the "software" is not compatible with their operating system.
No matter what device or operating system you are using, do not click the "Play" button or any other links in these emails.
Note that several silly WhatsApp related hoaxes also regularly circulate. The hoaxes falsely claim that users will be charged or have their accounts terminated if they do not pass on a specific message to their friends.
Last updated: September 3, 2014
First published: September 19, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen