People love to use WhatsApp and it is of course the most popular messaging application indeed. But this popularity has brought about scams and hoaxes that try to convince people to do something, such as downloading an app, on WhatsApp. One of these scams is WhatsApp Gold virus which starts as a message urging you to upgrade to WhatsApp Gold. But what is the story behind it and how was it combined with Martinelli? Read along to find out.
What is WhatsApp Gold virus?
WhatsApp Gold virus is in fact a message sent to people’s WhatsApp claiming that they are given an exclusive chance to download what is known as WhatsApp Gold. This message claims that this application is in fact an enhanced version of WhatsApp and all celebrities use this version. Victims are provided a link and they are urged to sign up for this app through this link.
What happens after you click on the link is that you will be redirected to a fake page and your phone will become infected with malware. The invitation message will read as follows:
Hey Finally Secret Whatsapp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too.
This application claims to allow you to delete messages after you’ve sent them (this feature is now available on the original WhatsApp), and simultaneously send 100 pictures along with other features. It does sound great, but it’s entirely made up and click on the link in the invitation is very likely to end up your phone with a virus infection.
There are WhatsApp mod apps available which are legitimized and are fully operational and they are not infected by virus. However, you should remember WhatsApp never sends you a message asking you to upgrade your app and any messages you receive urging you to update to WhatsApp Gold should be disregarded immediately.
Moreover, the WhatsApp Gold virus is now combined with Martinelli virus!
What is Martinelli virus?
Last year, a message started circulating around WhatsApp warning people about a video called Martinelli is being sent to users and if they open it, they phone will be infected with malware.
The wording, which instructs people to pass it on to their friends, suggests that a video is about to come out that could endanger people. But there does not actually appear to be any “Martinelli” video and it is completely a hoax!
The Martinelli virus message reads:
If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out on Whatsapp tomorrow called Martinelli do not open it. It hacks your phone and nothing will fix it.
How have WhatsApp Gold Virus and Martinelli combined?
Both WhatsApp Gold and Martinelli are part of the same story. While one is a very real threat and is definitely a malware (WhatsApp Gold) the other is just a hoax (Martinelli) as there is no such thing as the message claims. But at some point they’ve been lumped in together.
The truth is, WhatsApp Gold could be just a part of the Martinelli hoax and they help one another to spread across WhatsApp users. In the screenshot below, you can see how these two are connected to one another.
Another example of the warning message reads as follows:
Today the radio was talking about WhatsApp Gold and it is true. There is a video that will be released tomorrow on WhatsApp and is called Martinelli. Do not open it. Enter your phone and nothing you do will fix it. Spread the message if you know someone. If you receive a message to update Whatsapp Gold Do not open it! They just announced that the virus is serious. Send it to everyone.
As you can notice, the message combines information about a real threat (WhatsApp Gold) with a silly virus hoax (Martinelli) and this has caused considerable confusion among the users.
The confusion was real as people who knew that the Martinelli was false simply assumed that the WhatsApp Gold warnings were also part of the hoax. Conversely, people who had heard about the WhatsApp Gold virus attack assumed that the information about the Martinelli video was also true.
How to stay safe from WhatsApp Gold virus?
WhatsApp updates will occur through updating the app itself and not through clicking a link embedded in a message. And remember, WhatsApp never sends you a message asking you to update or offering you an exclusive version of the app. If you see something promising extra features as long as you fill in your details or click through to a link, you should ignore the message immediately and delete it straight away. Also, never share such messages with your contacts as they may fall victim of such messages.
There are many silly hoaxes on WhatsApp that the best you can do about them is to ignore them. Examples of such hoaxes include:
- Offering free Adidas trainers (!)
- Offering free flights
- Free £250 shopping voucher
- You’ll need to be 16 to use WhatsApp
- You have to pay for whatsApp
- Inactive users will have to pay
- WhatsApp is shutting down
But for the part of messages which actually pose a serious threat such as WhatsApp Gold virus, there are a series of actions you can take to stay safe.
- Don’t be tempted to click on links on WhatsApp
- Install an up to date and effective antivirus on your mobile phone
- Always make sure to download legitimized and safe apps from secure sources (Play Store and App Store)
- If your battery suddenly starts draining really fast, consider that it might be a malware problem and take action to remove the malware.
- Check your phone bill periodically to spot out suspicious activity.