WhatsApp is a necessity of the world at large today. Almost all smartphone users use WhatsApp for one reason or another, be it for connecting with loved ones or for taking their business up the ladder. Such reasons to use an application would require you to share your personal and professional data via the app with others right? You trust the ‘Facebook’ owned messaging app WhatsApp dearly to protect your data.
But did you know that being famous has its problems and that with greater power comes greater responsibility as well. So what is the issue?
Amongst countless lookalikes of famous apps all over the internet, there is an app called WhatsApp Plus that has been circulating around as a fake of the original WhatsApp and is stealing away and taking control of people’s personal data, as was reported by anti-malware software maker Malwarebytes Lab. The app has now been removed from Google Play Store but an .apk link of the of the app still keeps popping up through spam messages.
How would you differentiate the fake from the original?
WhatsApp Plus has a gold logo instead of the actual green WhatsApp logo. You install it, a pop up comes with the gold WhatsApp logo in the center, a URL and a handle written in the logo. Upon clicking ‘Agree and Continue,’ it tells you the version is outdated and redirects you to Google Play Store to update the same. The also available download option takes you to the URL from the gold logo.
You click that, you are taken to a potentially risky website where the whole text is in Arabic. You get developer information and are asked to download “Watts Plus Plus WhatsApp.”
The better features that the app lures you in with include hiding received texts, reading texts, typing a message and hide notifications even if you played a voice clip.
How does it work though?
WhatsApp Plus is a variant of Android/PUP.Riskware.Wtaspin.GB, that is classified as a Fake WhatsApp Riskware.
It hasn’t been revealed out by Malwarebytes as to how the app actually works and steals data as of yet. Their report concluded in such a way-“No matter the true author or origin of this fake WhatsApp, I suggest sticking with the real WhatsApp on Google Play. Although Google Play has its faults, it is tremendously safer than some of the sources I came across researching this malware.”
Always download only the authentic apps offered by verified developers from the Play Store and not via APKs found on downloading sites.
But it makes you wonder though- are we really safe anymore? Food for thought!!