A mysterious message with a lock code puts your WhatsApp history in jeopardy by freezing the application and the phone. Find out how to fix the problem here
A new WhatsApp error causes the application to crash if a user receives a text with specific code through the messaging platform, which means that the only solution is to uninstall and reinstall it, putting the conversation history at risk.
Mysterious messages use special character strings that the messaging application cannot read. These recent WhatsApp codes appear to come from Brazil, where it is becoming a widespread problem, according to Wabetainfo, who first reported on the problem.
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) August 6, 2020
It can also be transmitted using VCards, known as Virtual Contact Files (VCF). These contact cards allow people to easily share and add new contacts to their address book. However, when a user opens one of these malicious VCards, it could contain 100 contacts each with a registered name designed to block the application.
Malicious codes are shared on online forums and, as the trusted specialist information site WABetaInfo explains, WhatsApp users are advised not to send them to friends, family or other contacts, not even as a joke.
Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, says the phenomenon is extremely worrying given the large number of people using WhatsApp around the world – around 1.5 billion.
“Once the message has been received, the application will crash and even closing and restarting the application will fix the problem”
He added that the current onslaught of bomb texting appears to have originated in Brazil, yet it is now spreading globally.
Protect your WhatsApp account
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself against these lock codes. While it is not a guaranteed form of security, it is a good idea to limit who can add you to a group, as this will help reduce the risk of being exposed to strangers who may share a dangerous message or vCard with you.
Open WhatsApp settings
Enter the ‘Privacy’ section
Change the ‘Groups’ setting so that only your contacts can add you to a group.
According to Ray Walsh, users should change WhatsApp settings to help protect their applications from interference.
“To help protect themselves, all WhatsApp users should go to their settings to change ‘Who can add me to groups’ from ‘Everyone’ to ‘My contacts’, as this will reduce the risk of being added to a group used to bypass the malicious message, ”Walsh said.
It was also recommended that users who receive a message containing a random character string should log in through the WhatsApp web application to block the sender and delete the message.
A company spokesperson indicated that WhatsApp has released and has already begun rolling out a patch that addresses this issue in its latest iOS software update. As with any technology product, we strongly recommend that users keep their WhatsApp application and mobile operating system up to date and download updates whenever they are available.
Other messaging platforms have also suffered shutdowns due to strange characters. A glitch in Apple’s default text app meant that a message made up of the Italian flag emoji and a Sindhi character overloaded the device and forced it to shut down. Recently, a “soft brick” smartphone wallpaper was found in the Android 10 operating system.