The messenger owned by Facebook, WhatsApp, has become the most popular among Russians of all age groups, according to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), the Federal Quality Control Service (Roskachestvo) reports; this year, 73 per cent of messenger users chose it. However, there is a great danger for Russians, because 83 per cent of all phishing attacks in instant messengers, according to Kaspersky Lab, occur on WhatsApp (Viber ranks second with a score of 10 per cent).
Experts say that, as a rule, the main types of phishing messages and links on WhatsApp are of the same kind, with the only difference in motivation, depending on the current information context. They either convince you to click on a link, for example, to find out the latest information about COVID-19 or learn more about new payments from the state. Also popular among hackers are messages allegedly from WhatsApp itself or Facebook about the need to install a new version of the programme, for which a user is asked to enter his personal data.
So, one of the classic schemes that have regained popularity in July 2021 is conversion: a message appears on the network about a non-existent “action” similar to an instant lottery, in which any participant can win a large amount of money. The victim is offered to follow a phishing link to a special site where he or she is informed about the prize and just needs to pay for converting the prize into rubles an amount of money 50-100 times less than the amount allegedly won.
The Deputy Head of Roskachestvo, Anton Kukanov, advised Russians to always use antivirus in their messengers, which in most cases will help prevent a threat. However, according to the expert, the best defence is the user’s vigilance.