Whether it was the cool sneakers everyone had in grade school, or the latest cell phone release, we always want what’s new and hip. The desire to stay on top of trends and ahead of our friends carries over to our tech, too. We know to be careful when downloading on our mobile devices, but it’s easy to get caught up in a shady upgrade! Software updates are seen as fixes for bugs and improvements in design, but without judging speculatively, that upgrade could very well lead to cyber nightmares like malware.
That’s what happened when users of the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, fell victim to a lookalike sneakily disguised as the real deal. Thousands of users were given the option to download ‘WhatsApp Gold,’ via links spread over texts and social networks. This fake version of the app claimed to offer premium features that were only previously available to celebrities and users of status – ooh, aah! But, instead of premium features, the download actually led to the last feature a user would ever want: malware.
Don’t fall victim to the same cybercrime trickery! Follow these tips to stay golden:
- Toss It in the Trash: If you receive a message that looks like a scam, delete it, and do not click to investigate. One click can trigger the malware and infect a device within seconds. Mobile users are prompted with so many updates, it can be easy to download without thinking. Move with caution when it comes to clicking shady links.
- Something Smells Fishy: Don’t just assume that any message you see from a technology provider is legitimate. Cybercrime is thriving like never before, and sadly no one is immune. Rather than clicking the link to see where you end up, do a search on the web. In the WhatsApp Gold case, users could have avoided trouble by heading to the main WhatsApp website to do some investigating. If an app just released an update, the news will be front and center. Forums and blogs (like us!) are also full of the latest hacks; follow the breadcrumbs and see if the update is the real deal.
- Stick with the App Store You Know and Love: We all love to get a deal, but shopping in third party app stores is a big no-no. These apps aren’t held to the same standards as reputable app stores, and downloading from one is practically asking to have your mobile device hacked.
- We Have Your Back: Comprehensive security software is the defense you need to protect against hackers. McAfee® Mobile Security, for both Android and iOS offers plenty of protections to keep your mobile device in the clear. Next time you go to download a suspicious app, we’ll stop you in your tracks.
Don’t get caught up in the new and cool; losing your data to a scam is definitely not what the cool kids do!