Some special kind of text messages are circulating on WhatsApp with strange characters that can cause the app to freeze or crash. You may think that if you exit WhatsApp and log in again, it will be all right. But no, the app might keep crashing, and then you may have to delete the app and re-install. In that case, you will lose all the chat history that was not backed up.
Whatsapp community blog WABetaInfo termed these messages as 'Scary messages,' which include strange characters that are completely unfathomable. The bad actors also 'confuse' WhatsApp because the app is unable to interpret the language of the messages correctly and has not been able to prevent the threat so far.
As per WABetaInfo, these unknown characters make a combination that makes the social media app unable to process the message and determine the eventuality of crashing WhatsApp. These messages may appear in the form of VCards and contact cards.
Once WhatsApp users click and open the card, they may notice that it contains contacts having long and extremely confusing names based on unusual characters. Actually, these are crash codes. These cards could contain payloads which would cause more problems for the users if they click on them.
These codes can be sent via other types of messages such as followed links, and messages in group chats. As per WABetaInfo, there are many WhatsApp groups that are working to create and share these crash codes to cause damages to the app for many users.
But WhatsApp is not the only victim here, as there are many social media platforms that can also become targets of such cybercriminal activities. Antivirus software and other security programs can help to protect devices from digital threats. But, in the case of WhatsApp, when something like this happens, usually there is no way to prevent such threats. In terms of "Scary Messages," there is nothing that you can do.
But a user can block the contact on WhatsApp Web from where they received the message. If a user is unable to reach the WhatsApp Web because the app on mobile is already crashing, there is no other way apart from deleting and reinstalling WhatsApp.
How to avoid?
Users can set their group privacy to "My Contacts"—this way they can prevent unknown contacts to add the users to groups that contain crash codes. As per the WABetaInfo, the recent issue is found to be more prevalent in Brazil but it can happen to anyone and anywhere in the world.