We have gone through the days when a mobile used to be a very rare thing and SMS (Short messaging service) was the only messaging service, which was available at that time. Then came MMS (Multimedia Messaging service), where one could send videos over the phone. And finally came the mobile messaging through applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, Viber, and Hike, which used internet as a mode of transportation of data.
WhatsApp, which is one of the most popular mobile apps worldwide, has more than 700 million monthly active users, up from over 400 million in December 2013. This well-designed app is cheaper than SMS, no international charges, user-friendly, ad-free and requires minimal user intervention. Moreover, it works on most of the mobile phones including Nokia, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Smartphones. Many of its users agree that it is a better way to connect with family and friends than Facebook. However, its popularity has made it as one of the most prominent target for cyber criminals.
Recently, it was reported that WhatsApp users in India were receiving phoney investment spam messages from USA. The messages were all about promotion of wide range of comfort goods from well known brands such as Ray-Ban and Louis Vuitton. These messages from USA were destined to WhatsApp users to Europe. However, recent investigation revealed that spam messages were broadcasted from China not USA. The spam is much similar to iMessage spam, which was reported in 2014. More information about iMessage spam can be found here http://bit.ly/1ITmB52.
It was reported that India had 67 million Smartphone users in 2013 and the number increased by 45% in the year 2014, in comparison with 2013. This is because users purchased Smartphones, so that they could communicate with another Smartphone user with the help of mobile messaging applications. A user could also send audio and video message at a much cheaper cost than traditional MMS. What they did not realize is that they could be prone to such spams.
The Indian mobile users got a sigh of relief when TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) in September 2011 launched anti-spam regulations for SMS and pesky phone calls either from telemarketers or mobile operators in India. The tele marketeter or mobile operators who failed to oblige these rules were imposed penalties for every single incident of spam SMS or pesky calls reported by the mobile user.
So how can we safeguard ourselves against spam in instant messaging application? Below are some tips for same.
- Be extremely careful while joining groups, in which all the group members are un-familiar to you.
- If possible, avoid sharing your phone numbers with unknown person.
- Download instant messaging applications or applications from their official website or from an official store such as Google Play for Android.
- And finally, if be extremely cautious.