WhatsApp malware targets Indian Android users

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Central security services in India have issued a warning to Android users that two infected files have been circulating on communication app WhatsApp. The malware has been detected in India where users have Android smartphones with old software that can no longer be updated, making them easy to exploit.

Once downloaded, the corrupt files hack into the phone’s system and steal the user’s personal information, passwords, login accounts and banking data. The malware is most formatted as an Excel document, but officials said it could also appear in Word or Pdf formats.

To trick users into opening them, the files pose as documentation sent by top organizations in India, such as NDA (National Defense Academy) and NIA (National Investigation Agency). So far, two types have been identified: “NDA-ranked-8th-toughest-College-in-the-world-to-get-into.xls” and “NIA-selection-order-.xls”. The main targets of the malware have been the Indian defense, paramilitary and police forces.

“As these two organizations are very popular and known within the country and abroad and there is a curiosity about them, it is possible that it may affect the mobile phones of people interested in these subjects,” officials told the Economic Times. “However, it has been analyzed that the men and women in defense, paramilitary and police forces could be the target groups.”

WhatsApp has not commented about the malware or security measures to prevent circulation of the infected files.

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