whatsapp messaging app

Photo via Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Malicious WhatsApp clone was downloaded more than 1 million times

The app has been removed from the Play Store.

 

Phillip Tracy

Tech

Published Nov 6, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 12:00 pm CDT

Be very careful when downloading apps on your phone—they may not be what you expect.

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Millions of Android users found out the hard way after they downloaded a clone of the popular instant messenger WhatsApp from the Google Play Store. The imposter contained ads and malicious software that would download on their devices.

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Dubbed “Update WhatsApp Messenger,” the faux software was developed by “WhatsApp Inc.,” the same name used by the actual Facebook-owned company. How could two different developers use the same title? The folks who made the malicious app replaced the space with a Unicode character so it would appear the same but couldn’t be detected by Google, according to Reddit users. The app has since been deleted from the App Store.

To avoid downloading malware onto your device, only install apps that you’re confident are legit and get yourself a good antivirus.

H/T Mashable

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*First Published: Nov 6, 2017, 5:56 pm CST