No there is no Gold Version for WhatsApp — If you have received an invitation from a friend it’s because their account has been compromised. So Don’t fall for it!

Recently HackRead’s Ryan received a message on WhatsApp from one of his contacts during a group chat. The message asked him to click on a link in order to get the secretly released Gold version for WhatsApp. The message also encouraged him and others in the group to install the gold version as it’s only for big celebrities. But the good thing about being a security editor is that one does a background check before falling for such scams and as expected it turned out to be a malware scam.

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According to HackRead’s research, it was revealed that the message contained a link with domain address: Goldenversion (dot) com (domain has been deleted now) which was registered on May 08, 2016 2016 according to Who.is. Upon clicking, users were asked to click on installation link and send the Gold version invitation to friends to force innocent users into installing it. The cyber criminals also mentioned a list of additional features exclusively available for Gold Version’s users such as video calling, profile visitor checker, sending more than 10 picture files at once, delete sent messages, change themes and even the end to end encryption feature.

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This scam worked as a never ending cycle which probably infected users with malware, stole their financial info and invited other friends to install the same malware program.

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Currently, it is unclear how many users have been affected but the good news is that the website serving this scam has been deleted. However, WhatsApp users have to keep an eye on this scam as the same criminals can come back with a similar domain and serve the same scam again.

WhatsApp is currently used by nearly 500 million users so such scams are  likely to emerge, the main point is to make sure users don’t fall for them and provide these cyber criminals access to steal your personal and financial information which can be used on a larger scale just like the recent Japan’s ATM breach where hackers used leaked financial data to forge credit cards and stole 1.44 billion Yen ($13 million) from 1,400 ATMs in just 2½ hours.

If you are aware of any ongoing scams send report it to WhatsApp.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.