WhatsApp users are being warned about a devastating new scam that can force any smartphone to crash.
The new ‘text bomb’ affects both Android and iOS handsets and is being spread via two different types of WhatsApp messages.
One message reads: “This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more”.
However, if you tap on read more, it caused your smartphone to freeze and eventually crash.
The other variant of the message contains a black dot alongside the words: “if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang”.
The crash then occurs if your tap on the black dot.
The scam is being spread on WhatsApp by people trying to prank people in their contacts.
While the text bomb isn’t thought to cause any long lasting damage to your smartphone, if you receive the message you are advised to delete it immediately.
Smartphones which are caught out by the scam crasha and then need to be rebooted.
WhatsApp is yet to issue a statement, but the company is likely to issue a patch to fix the problem in an upcoming update.
The messages are able to crash smartphones because they contain a line of hidden code which includes character that most smartphones are unable to process.
In the first message, the code in question is hidden in the emoji and is triggered when the ‘Read more’ is tapped on.
In the second message, the code is hidden in the black dot.
Tapping on either of them overloads the phone with thousands of characters it is unable to process.
“Not only is WhatsApp crashing, my whole system process gets stuck, and I need to restart my phone,” said on user who posted about the bug on Reddit.
The bug is similar to the one discovered in February that sent Apple iPhones and iPads into a reboot loop because it contained a character that the iOS devices were unable to process.
Apple later issued a patch to fix the bug.