Security

WhatsApp Scam Claims To Offer Free 3G And Wi-Fi

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The fraudsters are able to tailor the content they serve depending on the characteristics shown by the victim

A new WhatsApp scam is doing the rounds, claiming to provide a free Wi-Fi service that keeps you connected even when you don’t have a 3G or Wi-Fi connection of your own.

The rather poorly-written message reads: “Now, you can do Whatsapp without internet from today. Whatsapp launches ultra-light Wifi feature to enjoy free 3G internet wherever you go for Whatsapp application.”

Although the poor spelling and grammar should be a clear indicator of a scam, messages such as these sent around on social media tend to experience a fair degree of success as they often come from people you know.

Scam

Scam alert

Clicking on the message reveals a bait-and-switch scheme, as when victims are “drawn in with the promise of something that sounds both useful and interesting, but quickly find that there are a few hoops to jump through first.”

The fraudsters behind the scam are able to tailor the content they serve depending on the characteristics shown by the visitor, such as the browser being used, the victim’s device and which ISP is being used to connect. For example, you might be offered the chance to ‘win’ a new iPhone for free.

Clicking through at this point leads you to a page where you are asked to share the message with other WhatsApp users. Then, the final step gives you the option of completing a survey or downloading one of two apps.

These options redirect the user through various affiliate programs, which Ducklin suggests is the way the scam makes money: “The apps that this scam foisted on us weren’t malicious, so we’re assuming that the crooks were hoping to make money out of the affiliate referrals that we mentioned above, rather than by infecting your device for subsequent cybercrimes.”

WhatsApp was in the new a lot towards the end of 2016, after being warned over its data sharing policies with parent company Facebook and feeling the wrath of regulators in both Germany and the UK.

Quiz: The wonderful world of Wi-Fi