Watch Out For This Fake WhatsApp App in the Google Play Store


technology
 Watch Out For This Fake WhatsApp App in the Google Play Store

Image via Twitter.

The popularity of cheap messaging service WhatsApp is so intense that over a million people have downloaded a fake update on it from Google Play.

Reddit user named E_x_Lnc first noticed the extremely suspicious app available for download under the title “Update WhatsApp Messenger,” according to Mashable. To be fair, the fake is extremely convincing. It was even originally listed as being sold by WhatsApp Inc.

Fake WhatsApp Update on #GooglePlay . Under the "same" dev name. Incl. a Unicode whitespace. One Million downloadshttps://t.co/qjqxd6n6HPpic.twitter.com/dmvTksqpuP

— Nikolaos Chrysaidos (@virqdroid) November 3, 2017

Redditors helped figure out that the phony Developer name was made by using a special unicode character called a “Space.” Its not exactly something the average user can check while downloading apps, but it also fooled Google Play. Reddit user megared17discovered and took a screenshot of the subtle difference.

Real Image via Imgur/Megared17.Fake Image via Imgur/Megared17.

Then /u/dextersgeniusanalyzed what this malicious app is trying to do; basically, to infiltrate your phone, spam you with ads, and make it undetectable to delete:

Ive also installed the app and decompiled it. The app itself has minimal permissions (internet access) but its basically an ad-loaded wrapper which has some code to download a second apk, also called “whatsapp.apk”

The app also tries to hide itself by not having a title and having a blank icon.

It appears that someone at Google Play has noticed the scam (or the reddit thread), and the Developer is now listed as Live Update Apps.

Image via Imgur.

However, folks have been quick to point out that this is an extremely common problem that Google Play hasnt discovered a solution to.

This is horrible.. minefield pic.twitter.com/xD9ozJP5P9

— Cristian Vat (@deathy) November 4, 2017

How easily can you get to the top ranks of #PlayStore being a copycat? #Messenger#Scam w/ 10M+ installations, plus fake reviews. pic.twitter.com/Dy3zOIxLgx

— Nikolaos Chrysaidos (@virqdroid) October 5, 2017

And there will be plenty of people who hit download without even double-checking the Developer name either. Its a scary world out there, folks. If youre not inclined to double check an app before downloading, you may want to try regular texting.

By: Lifehacker

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