According to a report from ‘The Hacker News,’ it said that 1 million plus people downloaded a fake WhatsApp version from the Google Play Store.
The app that is officially entitled as ‘Update WhatsApp Messenger,’ looks exactly like the real one. It was uploaded by a developer who called himself ‘WhatsApp Inc.’
Invisible character space added in the firm’s name ‘WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0’……
It’s an attempt to fool even wise customers. It appears that he “ADDED A UNICODE CHARACTER SPACE AFTER THE ACTUAL WHATSAPP INC. NAME”.
He makes the users believe that they were downloading an authorized app from the Facebook-owned property. The app itself appears to be a primary chat client, but its main aim is to trick users into clicking on third-party ads and force them to download malicious software.
One enterprising Redditor, DexterGenius who examined the software observed:
“I HAVE ALSO INSTALLED THE APP AND DECOMPILED IT. THE APP ITSELF HAS FEWER RESTRICTIONS (INTERNET ACCESS), BUT IT’S AN AD-LOADER WRAPPER THAT HAS SOME CODE TO DOWNLOAD A SECOND APK ALSO KNOWN AS ‘WHATSAPP.APK’. THE APP ALSO TRIES TO HIDE ITSELF BY NOT HAVING A LITTLE AND HAVING A BLANK ICON”.
However, this fake version has been eliminated from the Google Play Store, but a snapshot presents the extent to which the developers went to fool users into thinking it was the real one. In fact, Google hasn’t issued an official statement on the case, though said that they were looking into the matter.
Google has recently made efforts to get rid of “Zombie apps” for Google play store, and that has even set up AI algorithms to identify potential threats to its Play Protect system. But still, the current presence of adware and malware remains a considerable concern.
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