It's a scam that could wreak havoc in France, even if it is currently not very widespread in France. This fall, the Civil Guard in Navarre, northern Spain, warned the public of a significant increase in identity theft on WhatsApp. Here's how it works.
A well-established scam
Cybercriminals first attempt to connect to an individual's account. The target then logically receives a verification code to confirm their request. In the seconds that follow, she then receives another message from the hacker: “Hello, sorry, I sent you a 6-digit code by SMS by mistake, can you forward it to me please? It's urgent..
Once in possession of this information, scammers can log in and access private exchanges, photos and other personal data. The icing on the cake is that they are in possession of the victim's contacts. They can therefore trap them as part of these future scams at their leisure. Enough to make their requests much more credible.
Receiving an SMS from an unknown number is one thing, but receiving a message from a loved one is another, and it's a safe bet that the number of people who agree to send their verification code will be even greater in this context.
How to react?
Quoted by our colleagues from Journal du Net, Benoît Grunenwald, cybersecurity expert at Eset France underlines: “This attack has not yet emerged on a large scale in France, but I do not see any cultural or local specificities which would mean that this could not inspire French speakers. You must therefore remain vigilant”.
Faced with risk, you must first know that if you receive such a message, it will most likely be a scam. If a loved one contacts you, you can contact them directly and chat with them to see if anything is wrong. Also note that multi-factor authentication is always a plus.
Very popular, the Meta application is often targeted by cybercriminals. A few months ago, we talked to you in particular about the spread of a malicious campaign targeting its users. Hackers are sending messages offering an “unblocked” version of WhatsApp, called WhatsApp Pink.
On paper, the latter offers customization options and features absent from the Meta application. Except it's too good to be true, and people who install it end up with malware on their phone.