WhatsApp's new file-sharing feature could expose users to malware

Aatif Sulleyman
It only takes a momentary lapse of attention to download a dodgy file and infect your phone: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

WhatsApp has rolled out a new update that could prove both useful and potentially dangerous.

If you’re an iPhone user, you can now use the messaging app to share any type of file, as long as it doesn’t exceed 100MB.

Previously, you only had the option to share PDF documents.

The new capabilities will, of course, prove handy, especially if your colleagues are on WhatsApp.

However, they could also leave you more widely exposed to security risks.

Cyber criminals may try to take advantage of the update by spreading malicious files through the app.

It only takes a momentary lapse of attention to download it and infect your phone, which could lead to serious issues, like losing your private and sensitive data.

As WhatsApp allows anyone – not just your contacts – to message you, being targeted in this manner isn’t out of the question.

If you do receive a suspicious-looking message from a sender you don’t recognise, you can block them, so they can no longer message or call you through WhatsApp.

Just open the conversation and hit the Block option. You can also report the user as Spam.

If you click on an infected link or download a dodgy file on your Android phone, which received a similar file-sharing update from WhatsApp last year, you can protect yourself by running antivirus software on it as soon as you can.

The new iOS update also introduces an improved carousel view for pictures, and the ability to pin conversations to the top of your list, making it easier to ignore boring or annoying chats.