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Beware, This WhatsApp 'Black Dot' Message Bomb Crashes Android Phones

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Beware, This WhatsApp 'Black Dot' Message Bomb Crashes Android Phones

Highlights

  • The bug is being forwarded via messages
  • When tapped, it could send the app and possibly the phone crashing
  • Tapping on a portion of text makes the app 'expand' the hidden symbols

WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging app, is a popular haven for spam and malware. Now, there's a new bug that is being forwarded via WhatsApp messages and can crash not just the app but also your Android phone. It reportedly contains a code which when tapped overloads WhatsApp and even the OS, resulting in a crash. This comes as WhatsApp plans to add new features to the instant messenger, including playing Facebook and Instagram videos in picture-in-picture mode.

"As with any message bomb, it involves sending and receiving a specially crafted message with hidden symbols in between spaces. Tapping on a portion of the text will basically make the app 'expand' the hidden symbols, potentially overloading the app and even the OS," SlashGear reported. Such messages or "message bombs" are not new and not limited to Android. Even iMessage is not immune to bugs that could send the app crashing.

"There seem to be two variants of this WhatsApp message being forwarded. One involves an ominous black dot that comes with a warning on what will happen if you tap on it which most curious cats will do anyway," the report added.

Another "message bomb" which is causing the messaging platform to crash is more "nefarious, looks too innocent" and does not come with a warning. The message includes special characters that do not display visibly but are used to change text behaviour. A superfluous amount of these invisible symbols causes WhatsApp to freeze.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has not commented on the potentially disruptive bug so far.

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