WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging services across the world, having over 1.5 billion users? Since it has a huge user base; it is easy to say that the app is a "soft target" for hackers. A new scam has recently surfaced on WhatsApp, which involves hackers breaking into the user's account by using the OTP.
What is the OTP scam and how it works?
The WhatsApp OTP involves the scammer or hacker sending messages to a user, claiming to be a friend or a relative. The hackers usually describe an emergency to grab the user's attention.
The hacker later asks for the OTP which they may have sent to the user's account, accidentally. The hackers might also send multiple messages to make the users believe them. If the user shares the OTP with the hackers, it will give the hackers access to the user's messages, contacts, media and groups. The hacker can also have access to sensitive data or conversations that are meant to be private. The hackers might also ask for some monetary help from the user. The hacker can potentially start a chain by sending the messages to the user's contacts, making them a target too.
The scam doesn't have any "rocket science" associated with it, the hackers simply use the user's WhatsApp on a different device, when devices are switched WhatsApp sends the OTPs to authenticate the same, by sharing the OTP with the hackers (who pretend to be a friend or a relative) users give complete access to the account to the hackers.
If anyone falls prey to the scam, resetting WhatsApp and logging in again with the number that's being used already will send the OTP again to the user's mobile phone, thus, locking the hacker out of any other device they are using on the same number.
How to be Safe?
The best way to be safe from the scam is to not to share OTPs or any other information with anyone unless it's confirmed that the message is a genuine one. So, if a user receives an OTP without doing anything, ignoring it and not sharing it with anyone is the safe course.
Users should also activate two-factor authentication on WhatsApp to keep themselves safe from such scams.
The new scam can be a serious threat as many use WhatsApp for commercial purposes; if WhatsApp accounts of such users get compromised, then hackers are likely to get hold of their bank account details too.