WhatsApp message bombs have been around for a long time, forcing the app to freeze in most cases. 2 new ones are so heavy, they’ve been causing the phone itself to crash.
The key to these malicious texts is a boatload of invisible ASCII characters converted to text which the person at the receiving end of the prank can’t see, but are used to modify text behavior. Adding an excess number of symbols forces WhatsApp to shut down. This can extend to the OS itself, whether it be Android or iOS.
Two types of these forwards have been identified. One includes a simple black dot which conveniently comes with a warning of what will happen if the person taps on it. A lot of people will probably click on it out of curiosity, but that would be a mistake since it’ll instantly crash their handset once it expands.
The second starts off innocently with the words “This is very interesting!” and the laughing tears emoji before asking the victim to tap on “Read More.” There’s no warning here, so it’s easier for people to get fooled with it.
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The person behind the second method took to Reddit and YouTube to show off his creation. He’s posted a Pastebin link for anyone who wants to wreak havoc. He’s advising them to do this through WhatsApp Web, since copy and pasting from Pastebin is a slow process in Android due to the heaviness of the text.
He’s also warning individuals that not only does his WhatsApp crash, but his whole system process gets frozen, forcing a reboot. The company hasn’t said anything about the bugs yet, but it’s hopefully working on a solution.