Scary messages and vcards freeze WhatsApp

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In these years different situations made WhatsApp to crash. Just think about the black dot message, that contained some invisible characters that WhatsApp/Android wasn’t able to render.
Today I want to pay attention to another critical situation: weird long text messages and vcards.


  • Please. If you find any dangerous message, do not send it just for fun. Your friends might lose their chat history if they haven’t a recent backup. Sometimes we have important messages and media in our chat history, and this all could just be in bad taste.
  • If you want to share your experience with us, please mention @WABetaInfo on Twitter.

There isn’t a general way to describe this, so we prefer to call them “Scary Messages”. Scary Messages are very dangerous and they can destruct your experience in WhatsApp.
Basically, a contact might send a message that contains many weird characters. If you read them entirely, they have no sense, but WhatsApp might interpret the message in a wrong way. Sometimes WhatsApp is also unable to render the message totally, because its structure is so weird: the combination of these characters create a situation where WhatsApp isn’t able to process the message, determining an infinite crash.
Infinite crash means that, when you open WhatsApp, it is frozen and it crashes. If you try to open the app again, it still crashes. There isn’t an effective and general solution to fix this issue, because WhatsApp should carefully study the problem and implement a final fix.
I raised this issue a lot of times on my Twitter Account, and a lot of users said they experienced the same problem, in particular users from Brazil, the country where this is becoming a widespread phenomenon:

This user showed some messages and explained that WhatsApp Mods (that are unauthorized WhatsApp versions, not really recommended because they might alter the WhatsApp code behavior, so WhatsApp cannot ensure your messages are correctly end-to-end encrypted and if your privacy is really safe) have implemented a sort of “Crashcode protection”. There are a lot of secret WhatsApp groups where many users share these codes. When a scary message is created, it’s created to crash a specific platform, so there are WhatsApp Groups that share codes to crash WhatsApp for Android, other groups share scary messages to crash WhatsApp for iOS.

Sometimes these scary messages are simply vcards… apparently. If you open the vcard, you can verify that there might be like 100 associated contacts. Every contact has a very long weird name, that contains a crash code. Sometimes the vcard is also altered, editing/injecting something called Payload that makes the situation worse.
Seen that there isn’t a general name, users started to name these scary messages using some terms, like: Travar, Binario, Contact bomb, TravaZap or simply Crashers.


If you receive a scary message, you should try to block the contact from WhatsApp Web.
Then set your group privacy settings to “My Contacts” or “My Contacts except..” (because other unknown contacts might add you in groups, sending a scary message) and remove the message containing the crash code, if it’s possible, from WhatsApp Web.

If WhatsApp Web isn’t able to reach your device (because WhatsApp is repeatedly crashing) or you haven’t a WhatsApp Web session enabled, unfortunately you must reinstall WhatsApp, losing your chat history. For this reason I recommend to back up your chat history at least once a week, if you care your messages.
Unfortunately this issue is around since 3 years. We don’t know if WhatsApp is already trying to fix the problem, but probably it might take a long time seen that there is an infinite combination of these characters. If you want to share your experience with us, be free to mention or contact WABetaInfo on Twitter.


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