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WhatsApp 'New Voicemail' Malware Email

Outline
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.

WhatsApp Malware

© iStockphoto.com/ Kenishirotie



Brief Analysis
The email is not from WhatsApp. Clicking the "Play" button will open a malicious website that tries to trick users into downloading malware to their device.

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Example
WhatsApp Messaging Service

WhatsApp Malware Email

Detailed Analysis


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.  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. 

The campaign seems primarily aimed at Android users. 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.

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.

PC users may also be tricked into downloading malware by way of a malicious website that urges them to update their browser. However, the payload is a java file made for mobile devices and is not likely to have much impact on a PC.

Another WhatsApp related malware campaign that is being distributed as a Facebook ad tries to trick people into clicking a link to download a new PC version of the app. The malware can spam out messages to your friends list and may draw users to survey scams.

Several silly WhatsApp related hoaxes have also circulated.  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.

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Last updated: September 19, 2013
First published: September 19, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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References
Spam Leads to Multi-Platform Mobile Threat
Fake new voicemail notification targets android whatsapp users
Double trouble for Whatsapp users as service is targeted by fresh malware
WhatsApp 'Logo Will Turn Red' Hoax
WhatsApp 'Servers Really Full' Hoax