WhatsApp on August 9 began rolling out a new feature that allows users to share their screen during a video call. While at first this seems like a harmless and useful feature (that’s already available in video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams), screen sharing could be WhatsApp’s biggest problem in the hands of scammers, as pointed out by a Twitter user:
The scammers must be licking their fingers. It's now much easier for them to access the phones of naive people.
We have to train our elders not to click the button with anyone else.
— C Chaitanya (@firstname.lastname@example.org) (@nutanc) August 10, 2023
WhatsApp is unfortunately one of the most popular means to carry out scams. Now imagine if the scammer had a new option to view the victim’s screen, giving them first-hand access to sensitive information. For example, imagine a scammer calling a non-tech-savvy relative of yours on WhatsApp and convincing them to do a KYC verification to keep their bank account active (a very popular scam technique that preys on the fear of people losing access to their money). Then, in an offer to help, the scammer asks your relative to share the screen to make the process faster. The scammer can direct your relative to show any of their sensitive details including OTPs, bank account details, passwords, etc.
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Scams through remote viewing and screen sharing are not new. In fact, many financial and banking apps on Android won’t work if the device has remote viewing apps like TeamViewer or AnyDesk installed. An example of this is Paytm, which in 2020 began alerting users to uninstall remote viewing apps before continuing to use the app.
Another example is the SBICard app:
Hey @SBICard_Connect what idiocy is this!? Do you think Teamviewer is only used to steal information!? There are many who use this for official purposes. If this continues, it is SBICard App that I will uninstall and not Teamviewer.
CC: @teamviewer @TeamViewer_help pic.twitter.com/TjFaqbpcD1
— Nishant Menon (@n4nishant85) December 16, 2021
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