WhatsApp users on Android need to be careful when opening both individual and group chats as there’s a harmless-looking link making the rounds online that can instantly crash the app.
As reported by Android Police, the link in question (wa.me/settings) is the cause of these crashes and Android users will want to avoid it at all costs. Not because it’s dangerous, but because it’s acting up in a way that’s particularly annoying.
Normally this link would take WhatsApp users to the app’s settings menu, but a glitch is causing it to outright crash the app instead.
If you do happen to open an individual or group chat containing this link, it will immediately crash the app. However, the app restarts normally when you reopen it — granted you don’t open the chat containing the link once again.
There is a workaround
While Meta and WhatsApp will likely implement a fix soon, there is a workaround in the meantime.
As one of the best encrypted messaging apps, WhatsApp also allows you to access your chats through your browser. If you sign in through your browser and delete any chats containing this bad link, you can then open the app on your phone without having it crash.
Keep in mind though, if someone does post the link in a new chat, you’ll need to repeat this process again until an actual fix is released.
How to stay safe from suspicious links in chats
Since your friends can have their Facebook hacked or their other social media apps taken over by cybercriminals, you always need to be careful when opening links sent to you in messages.
If a link looks suspicious or you haven’t heard from someone in a while and they sent you a link in a chat, it’s best to avoid clicking on it. However, if you can’t stop curiosity from getting the best of you, you can always copy the link and examine it in another app before clicking on it.
We’ll likely hear more from either Meta or WhatsApp once an official fix is released for this issue.
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Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.