The RGP says it has been made aware that members of the public have been receiving WhatsApp messages purporting to be from known contacts whose accounts would appear to have been either hacked or their profiles appropriated.

The messages request the recipient of message to resend it back to the originator.  'We are aware that this has resulted in their WhatsApp accounts having been wiped. However, we are not aware whether this is due to WhatsApp having detected irregularities with the accounts or whether this is the intended effect of these messages. However, we do draw attention to the fact that all the information contained in your device is potentially at risk if the device is successfully accessed by third parties directly or remotely.'

The RGP warn that modern smart phones are no longer just simple communication devices. 'They are powerful processing tools and repositories of huge amounts of personal data. We, therefore, advice the public to remain vigilant to the threat from unscrupulous individuals who will try to exploit vulnerabilities either with the devices security settings or the manner in which they are operated by their users.'