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The notorious malware 'WhatsApp Gold update', which fooled several messenger users to install malware in 2016 is back again in the news.

Unlike previous times, this forward message, citing some radio show is warning users that some video titled 'Martinelli' will be pushed all WhatsApp users soon. It is said to be a part of WhatsApp Gold update and if played on the phone, a malware will get downloaded and steal sensitive data.

"If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out tomorrow from WhatsApp called Martinelli do not open it, it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word. If you receive a message to update the Whatsapp to Whatsapp Gold, do not click !!!!! Now said on the news this virus is difficult and severe. Pass it on to all."

Though this message sounds like a Public Service Announcement (PSA), it is likely to be a Trojan technique to gain the confidence of the user and then later release malware in a benevolent-looking message.

WhatsApp Gold update malware threat resurfaces again in 2019.REUTERS

Be advised, WhatsApp never releases an update via a message. It can only be updated on Google Play for Android and Apple App Store for iOS devices. If you are enabled automatic updates for WhatsApp, then it will automatically install whenever the mobile is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

So, WhatsApp users and also smartphone users, in general, are advised to be vigilant when you receive any forward messages or an email from unknown persons or even familiar ones, as they might be too tricked to send it to you.

Recently, there has been a spike in phishing cases across the world, where a cybercriminal posing as a legitimate bank or IT official asks for bank details and dupe customers. It goes without saying, but it is very important, particularly in the digital age, we live to have to be ever vigilant.

Here's how to protect yourself from phishing attacks on smartphones:

  • Make sure you have reputable anti-virus software on your PC and phones
  • Also, keep your email app (Gmail) on the mobile updated at all times (Google regularly releases anti-phishing security patches for Gmail on both Android and iOS versions)
  • Never respond to emails from an unknown person and it goes without saying, never click the URL links present in that mail
  • If you have downloaded a file from a mail, make sure to scan it again with the anti-virus app
  • If email sender is not related to you or your work. Tag the mail as spam and block them.
  • Make sure you have registered your mobile number with the bank so that you get credit/debit alerts every transaction you make
  • Never ever open a website with non-https URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
  • Never ever divulge User ID, Password, OTP, URN, Debit Card Grid values with anyone on email or SMS
  • Always remember no bank or Income Tax official will ever ask you to divulge bank card or credit card details on a phone call or an SMS or an email. If there is an issue, you should always go to your bank branch or nearest IT office for enquiry.