WhatsApp is reported to result into a bootloop when you click certain elements in your chats.
According to WABetaInfo, people are receiving messages that look weird and are called ‘scary messages’. They are in the form of vcards, which is the format used to send contacts on WhatsApp.
The characters might not make sense but this leads to WhatsApp failing to render the message totally. This leads to a situation where WhatsApp can’t process the message, leading to an infinite crash. Unfortunately, this bootloop is terrible since when the app crashes and you launch it again, it still crashes. This could lead to WhatsApp being unusable which will inconvenience a lot of you out there.
These vcards could have like 100 associated contacts with weird long names that contain the crash code. They can be altered to inject payloads which makes the situation worse. The messages have names like Travar, Binario, Contact Bomb, TravaZap or Crashers.
This problem has been rampant in Brazil where the app is king. There is an estimated 120 million users in Brazil and it is one of WhatsApp’s biggest user bases.
This phenomenon becomes more interesting since it also ties in to WhatsApp Groups and unofficial mods. There are Whatsapp mods out there that the company is not fond off and are apparently immune to it. Meanwhile, there are secret WhatsApp groups that are created to crash a specific platform like for Android and for iOS.
Apparently, the ‘modded’ WhatsApp versions are immune because they have implemented a sort of crash code protection. This could be a bigger Unicode database as suggested by this tweet and they need this to be integrated on the official app. There is not an effective solution to fix this bug that causes WhatsApp to crash.
Solution to avoid these messages
There are palliative options that people can use to avoid getting or opening these messages. First, you will need to set your group privacy settings to “my contacts” or “my contacts except”. This will let you sift your messages to people that you know and block unknown NUMBERS.
In conclusion, you will need to avoid clicking on any suspicious links, especially vcards that you do not know.