Today we are going to talk about if it is possible to get a virus from a WhatsApp message and how to protect ourselves from risks.
Over the past few days, it is shown that Android users can end up with viruses affecting their devices by simply receiving a WhatsApp message. There is even a video that proves the theory.
And, despite the fact that there is some truth in the conclusions of this research, the reality is that for attackers to succeed in infecting their victims’ devices it takes more than just a simple message.
Is it possible to get a virus from a WhatsApp message?
First, the victim receives a WhatsApp message containing a link to a web page and sometimes an image. That page contains a download link to an application.
But there’s no possible risk until the user downloads and installs the application on their device. In case of performing the installation of the downloaded application, the virus takes over the device and starts sending the same message to the entire WhatsApp contact list, with the aim of deceiving and infecting as many people as possible.
The researcher also indicates that the virus can respond with personalized messages to any WhatsApp notification. When installed, the app requests access to advanced system permissions such as access to notifications or the ability to run on other apps.
Everything seems to indicate that the ultimate goal of this malware is to end up subscribing affected users to premium services. However, the researcher claims that because of the permissions that the malicious application obtains, it could be used to carry out much more dangerous attacks against users.
How to protect ourselves on Whatsapp?
Experts say it is not true that malware can infect devices by simply downloading an image or receiving a message.
After all, as we have seen, the malware enters the device after the installation of the application is performed, not before.
Therefore, we can draw two conclusions from this case: first, that you should always avoid opening suspicious links received by WhatsApp – even if the application does not identify them as suspicious; and second, even though WhatsApp is still one of the main targets of hackers when it comes to finding victims, getting infected by one of the viruses is not as easy as it seems if you act with common sense.