Beware ... a simple trick through the WhatsApp application hijacks your account


Cybercriminals target WhatsApp users with a simple trick that leads to log out of the account with the possibility of sending potentially harmful messages to contacts, and cyber security experts have warned that the trick can be used to manipulate victims in order to send money, or use panic about the emerging corona virus to persuade them to share Bank account details.




The cyber attack, which was previously documented but recently appeared in the United Kingdom, begins when a six-digit code is sent from WhatsApp via text message to the victim's phone, shortly afterwards a friend or relative, whose account is subject to the same trick, is required from the user to share the code via WhatsApp.




Once this happens, the victim is logged out of his account for up to 12 hours, allowing intruders to contact the contact using the victim's name.




The simple trick takes advantage of the verification code sent automatically by WhatsApp when installing the application on a new device, and hackers get the password they need to activate the user's WhatsApp account by sharing the code, only a phone number and a six-digit PIN is required.




By accessing the new account, hackers can then further spread the trick using social engineering to trick people into giving away their WhatsApp accounts.




"Hackers usually try to get passwords for bank accounts or broadcast services, like Netflix, but they are now changing their message to take into account the ongoing epidemic," said Jake Moore, a cyber security expert at ESET.




The trick can be avoided by activating the two-factor authentication feature in WhatsApp, which provides an additional layer of security for users, and gives them their own six-digit personal identification number, but many users do not use it because it is not applied by default.




The messaging service encouraged users to take advantage of the two-factor authentication feature, and also warned users not to share the six-digit PIN, stating that they would never ask users to share the code.




"When activating the two-factor authentication feature, any attempt to verify your phone number must be accompanied by the six-digit PIN you have chosen when using this feature," WhatsApp says.




The use of other WhatsApp and Facebook applications has boomed since the outbreak, and the social media giant said, “Maintaining stability of services during these conditions was difficult.” She explained earlier in the week that messages had increased by 50 percent compared to last month in the countries most affected by the disease.

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