High risk of accepting images and videos on Telegram and WhatsApp

Receiving videos and images on your mobile device via Telegram or WhatsApp could now contain viruses that attack your personal information. According to research done by Symantec, hackers are manipulating media files to insert a virus that would end up in your phone the minute you download the media file to view it.

 

What it does to your phone?

When you receive an image or video on your messaging app and download the file to your phone’s internal storage, it allows the hacker to access the phone and take control of certain functions within the account. All these added activities could continuously run it in the background without your knowledge. It could hijack the victim’s account and send infected messages on behalf of the user without the user knowing it was executed.


Types of risk exposure

  • Modifying photographs

One of the more common examples is when the hacker may have gained access to other media files in your smartphone after you downloaded an unsuspecting malicious image or video. The hacker can then alter images and continue spreading viruses to your other contacts by getting them to download familiar pictures you send over, or worse, alter existing innocent images to seem obscene which results in blackmail, ransom, and extortion.


  • Amendments of documentation

In other cases, media file jacking can happen when the virus intercepts and manipulates a receiving pdf or similar invoice document. The user is then misled into transferring money to the wrong account instead of the intended account due to the altered documentation.

 

  • Voice Manipulation

While that may seem troubling enough, hackers could even manipulate voice messages to sound like you. By imitating you, it could authorize company payments or provide other instructions that could be very incriminating and costly to an individual. A CEO could unknowingly be “authorizing” a transfer of funds to the hacker’s account without his or her knowledge.


How to protect your smartphone

In order to protect yourself from such vulnerabilities, you could view images or videos on your phone, without storing them in your internal storage. However, you could specifically choose to manually download and store media files into your phone when you deem necessary. This minimizes the risk of infiltration of such malicious viruses but is not a permanent fix.

Here is how you can take steps to protect yourself from such attacks to ensure you are able to view your media files without storing them into your phone.



With all the added measures taken, you should be able to continue using your smartphone with minimal risks.

VHCEx would also like to remind its users that it does not seek authorization of payments via Telegram or WhatsApp. Should a user receive such a request, seek clarification and report it to our support team at [email protected].

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08 Aug 2019


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