Beware of virus spreading via WhatsApp
WhatsApp users, beware. According to Eset, a malicious link is spreading a virus. Clicking on it takes you to a fake Google Play page that invites you to download the "official Huawei app". This is a malicious app which, once installed, tries to intercept the smartphone owner's account data.
Could a security app provide a solution in this case? Maarten De Backer, expert at Test Aankoop explains.
A security app is useful, however…
"It is unlikely such an app will consider the link in your WhatsApp as unsafe. But it can help if you were to download a malicious app," says Maarten De Backer.
"Viruses on mobile operating systems usually spread via "APK files", i.e. packages that contain all the information needed to install apps for the Android platform. Mobile anti-malware apps scan these files for malicious code. If they find anything suspicious, the download is blocked. Please note: not all security apps offer the same level of protection."
Do not ignore built-in security
Far more important than relying on a security app is preventing malicious APK files from doing any damage.
"Over the last years, Android has helped you with this: the operating system's default setting is to not download APKs from outside the Play Store. In other words, if you don't deactivate this built-in security you won't be able to download the WhatsApp virus. Don't forget your mobile browser usually has a built-in function to stop malicious files being downloaded."
Don't forget the basic rules:
- Don't just click links in messages or on websites, particularly if the origin is unknown.
- Keep your operating system and apps up-to-date.
- Check apps before installing them, especially if they are not well known: how many times has the app already been downloaded, is enough information available online, etc. Also look out for language, spelling mistakes, strange logos to expose false copies. An app that asks for too many or unnecessary authorisations can be suspicious.
- Don't "jailbreak" or "root" your smartphone: when you deactivate the operating system security restrictions, hackers are able to access the operating system and its functions.
Don't forget your computer