WhatsApp users should be on high alert for a malicious virus which has been doing the rounds on the chat app. Hackers are disguising the files under the names of Indian defense organizations such as NDA and NIA.
Central security agencies have now issued advisories to defense and security organizations across India. The corrupt WhatsApp files have apparently been programmed to breach sensitive information and banking data such as login credentials, passwords, and PIN numbers. It appears to be particularly targeting defense personnel who may be carrying around high-security data.
PTI reports that the names of the two files are ‘NDA-ranked-8th-toughest-College-in-the-world-to-get-into.xls’ and ‘NIA-selection-order-.xls’. Officials who are aware of the contents of the advisory assert that the NDA in the message refers to the army’s National Defense Academy in Pune and the NIA to the National Investigation Agency, an institution dedicated to probing terrorism.
The virus mostly shows up in the form of a Microsoft Excel file. However, officials say it may also be sent in the form of a Microsoft Word or pdf document. They fear that people may click on the virus out of curiosity and get hacked as a result. While it could target anyone, analysis apparently shows that men and women in defense, police, and paramilitary forces are particularly at risk.
The advisory has now been shared with the field formations of these security forces to alert them against the malicious message. Security personnel have additionally been asked to report any incidents to the authorities if they come across any suspicious WhatsApp-related activity.