We all know how amazing WhatsApp is, but with every good thing, there’s always a bad side and no matter how deep it’s hidden, it always comes out, at some point.
Apparently, there’s a new deadly virus that is posing itself as WhatsApp. Once it successfully does this, it proceeds to steal an extensive amount of data from your phone, be it your contacts, call history, text messages, location data or even the entire browsing history that is usually stored on these devices.
The app succeeds in disguising itself as not only WhatsApp, but it also takes the shape of other popular apps, including Pokemon Go, thus tricking unsuspecting users into downloading and installing it on their phones. Once it’s installed on your phone, it takes over the phone and creates a backdoor that enables the malicious hackers behind it to steal huge amounts of data from your phone.
Dubbed GhostCtrl, the malicious software has more abilities than you can think of, including the ability to tell the software version your phone is using, the battery level, Wi-Fi information and so on. It gets even worse knowing that this WhatsApp imposter can also take over your phone’s camera and microphone and secretly record videos without your knowledge.
The virus is reportedly affecting Android devices, the platform that has more than 2 billion users across the globe. Note that GhostCtrl doesn’t affect WhatsApp, rather, it simply impersonates the popular chat app and tricks users into downloading it thinking that it’s the real deal.
According to researchers at TrendMicro, a security company that discovered the GhostCtrl malware, WhatsApp users should be watchful of up to three variants of the virus, which are already doing multiple rounds online. Apparently, one of the variants can be used as a ransomware, something that has become a common happening in the online community, but mostly on Windows PCs.
The virus can successfully lock the screen of your phone, reset the password and even root the device. As noted earlier, this virus can also hijack the camera of your phone and once it does, the searchers say that it can schedule tasks of taking photos and recording videos, which are later uploaded to the command and control (C&C) server as MP4 files.
To avoid falling into the GhostCtrl trap, Android users are advised to always take care when installing apps on their phones. The Google Play Store is there for this purpose, so don’t be tricked into downloading apps from other untrusted or unknown platforms. Furthermore, TrendMicro adds that Android users should always keep their devices’ software – including apps like WhatsApp – up to date, something that most people have always overlooked.