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WhatsApp ‘New Voicemail’ Malware Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email purporting to be from cross-platform IM application WhatsApp claims that the recipient has a new voicemail that can be accessed by clicking the “Play” button in the message.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from WhatsApp. Clicking the “Play” button will open a malicious website that tries to trick you into downloading malware to your device.

Examples

WhatsApp Messaging Service

WhatsApp Malware Email

 

Detailed Analysis

This message, which masquerades as a notification from cross-platform IM application WhatsApp, informs recipients that they have a new voicemail. The message includes a “Play” button that will supposedly allow recipients to listen to their voicemail message.

However, the email is not from WhatsApp and pressing the “Play” button will not access a voicemail message as claimed. In fact, clicking “Play” will take users to fraudulent websites where they may be tricked into downloading malware.
Exactly what type of malware gets downloaded will depend on the device the recipient is using.

Windows users may be tricked into visiting a compromised website and downloading the malware.

If the link is clicked from an Android device, the malicious site will download and install a file called “Browser 6.5”.  If users then click an “Agree” button in the “browser”, text messages will be sent to premium rate phone numbers. The app will also try to convince users to download another malicious app. Some versions may trick users into downloading other types of Android malware.

If users have a jailbroken iPhone, they may also inadvertently download a version of the malicious app. Because iPhone apps can only be installed via the official Apple app store, users with non-jailbroken iPhones should not be affected.

Apple computer users who click the “Play” button will be taken to a webpage that informs them that the “software” is not compatible with their operating system.

No matter what device or operating system you are using, do not click the “Play” button or any other links in these emails.

Note that several silly WhatsApp related hoaxes also regularly circulate. The hoaxes falsely claim that users will be charged or have their accounts terminated if they do not pass on a specific message to their friends.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer