Android users are being targeted by a piece of malicious software which tricks users into downloading a fake app that also targets the devices of friends via WhatsApp.
The so-called ‘worm’ can only infect a person’s phone if they receive the message themselves and click on the link it contains.
It then requests the user enables a variety of functions and permissions. These activate a hidden capability which means when the phone receives a WhatsApp message it will instantly reply with a link to the dodgy site.
The intention of the scam is to bombard people with ads, which creates revenue for criminals, or to dupe people into signing up for a subscription service.
However, the tech could also be easily adapted to become more sinister and steal personal information as well as bank details, experts warn.