Fake news and hoaxes have become an inevitable part of the social networking sites. From a series of unverified forwarded messages to some captivating new updates, users find it hard to differentiate between genuine messages and hoaxes. The latest such bluff is about 'WhatsApp Gold', where users are being notified about 'a secret update' for the Facebook-owned instant messaging app. However, if you have also come across such messages, do not fall for it as the latest update request is nothing but an all-new trap to lure into downloading malware through WhatsApp. WhatsApp, which is known for introducing new features and updates now and then, had become the victim of similar incident in 2016 as well.
The message, asking users to download the fake update - 'WhatsApp Gold' reads, "Hey Finally Secret WhatsApp golden version has been leaked, this version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too". The widely circulated message also states that a video called "Martinelli" will come out tomorrow which according to reports will hack your phone.
However, soon after the latest scam came to light, the Facebook-owned messaging app started alerting its users and circulated a safety message, saying "The message claims a video will come out tomorrow called "Martinelli", which will hack your phone".
"If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out tomorrow from WhatsApp called Martinelli do not open it, it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word. If you receive a message to update the WhatsApp to WhatsApp Gold, do not click !!!!! Now said on the news this virus is difficult and severe. Pass it on to all,” it added.
This so-called secret update of WhatsApp claims to have features like video chats, forwarding 100 pictures at a time and deleting messages after they have been delivered. The message invites users to click on a link to download the upgrade, directing them to a website full of malicious software.
Several WhatsApp users have reportedly grabbed this fake opportunity to install the "limited version" of WhatsApp, resulting in the permanent damage to their smartphones. However, keeping in mind the safety measures, WhatsApp users are advised not to click to sign up for the upgrade and delete the same as soon as you receive.
How to avoid such traps?
To avoid such traps, users need to be extra cautious and are advised to visit their Play Store/App Store for any latest update related to WhatsApp. For those unserved, the instant messaging app never sends an update through external links and first notify it through Play Store for Android and Windows users and App Store for iOS users.