Fool’s gold: WhatsApp users being tricked into downloading WhatsApp Gold malware

25 May 2016

If you’ve been prompted to download ‘WhatsApp Gold’ by a message sent to you through the messaging app promising exclusive features, then think again, as it’s nothing but old-fashioned malware.

Those who have been using WhatsApp for the last few years have probably seen at least one iteration of scams attempting to get you to download some very dubious-looking program or go to a hyperlink that will immediately send you malware.

For Irish users, the last strange appearance of malware last July saw many of us receive messages as Gaeilge telling us to buy sunglasses, or just win millions of dollars.

Now, according to The Independent, WhatsApp Gold appears to be the latest global attempt by scammers to manipulate WhatsApp’s 1bn-plus users’ demand for new and exclusive features on the messaging app.

Typically, WhatsApp users will receive a message informing them that celebrities have been using this gold, exclusive version but now it’s been ‘leaked’ for us mere mortals to use.

Promises features that already exist

Among some of its bogus promoted features are: video calling (which the real WhatsApp will have soon enough); the option to delete mistaken messages, and free calling (things you can do already); the option to send more than 100 photos at a time (why?), and a tonne of gaudy gold backgrounds and new emojis.

The message then tells the mark that, by clicking the link at the bottom of the message, the app will suddenly be transformed, with the icon’s colours changing from green and white to black and gold.

It also promises that once you go gold “you can enjoy all features 100pc safely”, which of course couldn’t be further from reality.

So, like any similar scam, it’s advised to just ignore the message and block that number from contacting you again.

Lavish couple image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic