File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

’Dangerous’ messages circulating on WhatsApp: This is what to do to if you receive a message containing crash code

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 8, 2020

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Users of popular messaging service WhatsApp have been urged to not send ’dangerous messages’.

According to WaBetaInfo, a website that tracks the latest updates on WhatsApp's beta version, said these ’scary messages’ can result in what is called an infinite crash.

“There isn’t a general way to describe this, so we prefer to call them ’scary Messages’. Scary Messages are very dangerous and they can destruct your experience in WhatsApp,” said WaBetaInfo.

“Basically, a contact might send a message that contains many weird characters. If you read them entirely, they have no sense, but WhatsApp might interpret the message in a wrong way. Sometimes WhatsApp is also unable to render the message totally, because its structure is so weird: the combination of these characters create a situation where WhatsApp isn’t able to process the message, determining an infinite crash,”

“Infinite crash means that, when you open WhatsApp, it is frozen and it crashes. If you try to open the app again, it still crashes.”

It is worth noting that there is not an effective and general solution to fix this issue.

These ’scary messages’ can also come in the form of vcards. If you open the vcard, you can verify that there might be approximately 100 associated contacts.

Every contact has a long name that contains a crash code. Sometimes, the vcard is also altered and edited into something called Payload. Payload makes the situation worse.

So what do you do if you receive a ’scary message’?

If you are an unlucky soul who received a scary message, block the contact from WhatsApp Web.

Then set your group privacy settings to “My Contacts” or “My Contacts except..” Other unknown contacts might add you in groups and send a message containing a crash code. Make sure to remove the message containing the crash code from the app and, if it’s possible, from WhatsApp Web.

However, if WhatsApp Web is not able to reach your device because WhatsApp is repeatedly crashing or you do not have a WhatsApp Web session enabled, you must reinstall WhatsApp. This will cause you to lose your chat history.

WaBetaInfo recommends backing up your chat history at least once a week.

The issue of messages containing crash codes has been around since 3 years. WhatsApp might take a long time to fix the issue as there are an infinite combination of these characters.

IOL TECH

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