Today, our daily communication seems very much dependent on phone applications, meaning security risks have become an increasing challenge for all users.
It can be said that our hyper-connected, digitized society has increased security risks, with hackers breaching the wide web or targeting specific applications. Hackers have improved and developed the nature and scope of their activities, creating new, advanced ways of stealing, modifying or destroying data.
Cyber criminals do this by installing dangerous malware – software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer or phone without the user’s knowledge or consent. Their broad understanding and expertise in this domain, enables them to access private information.
WhatsApp is the most widely known online chatting application worldwide, and as such has become a target for many hackers looking to manipulate millions of users.
According to reports, the latest scam by hackers targeting WhatsApp involves users being sent unreliable links or hoax messages which look like they’re coming from friends in a normal conversation. It then takes you to a discount page asking for your personal information. By just clicking the discount vouchers, a malware will be on the phone, allowing the hacker to take sensitive information.
Another scam includes when first installing the app, a message with a code is sent to you that will ask you to verify your phone number once you enter it into the app, even though it is not required to verify the number when installing WhatsApp. However, a hacker’s purpose is to deceive people, so they can take control of data and consequently steal private information.
To prevent cyber threat, users should not open messages from unknown senders, immediately delete messages that are suspected of being spam, update the app and ensure they have premium security software on their computer. However, in such cases whereby spyware targets a chat application, can an update eliminate the problem? While an update can fix the flaw that let an attack take place, it is not known whether an update removes any spyware that has already infected a device.
In addition, scams or hacks increased in previous years causing substantial financial losses in business. In 2018, 26.379 people confirmed being victim of a type of scam with 50 million dollars in losses, which is a larger number to that of 2017, according to the FBI’s 2018 Internet Crime Report. As for 2019-2020, 467.361 complaints of suspected internet crime were filed, with losses in excess of 3.5 billion dollars, showing a vast increase from the previous year.
Unfortunately, malicious online activity will not stop anytime soon because of the growing use of devices and because hackers are getting better at advancing their methods.