Are you using a fake WhatsApp app?

Fake WhatsApp
  • Save
AT - Alibaba

With the plethora of apps available in the Google Play Store, we often take for granted that whatever we download is genuine. Not the case for over one million Android users though. There was a fake version of WhatsApp floating about in the store, and many mistakenly downloaded to their phones.

According to The Register, Reddit users spotted the fake yesterday, 3 November, and it looked deceivingly like the real thing. Everything from the logo, product page, down to the publisher name “WhatsApp Inc.” It’s however, labelled “Update WhatsApp Messenger.”

It passed Google’s Play Protect so it must be legit right?

Fake WhatsApp
  • Save
Will the Real WhatsApp please stand up? | Pic cred: The Register

Reddit user DexterGenius reported that the app itself has minimal permissions, but it’s really an ad-loaded wrapper that has some code to download a second apk file, called “whatsapp.apk.” He revealed that the app tries to hide itself by not having a title and sporting a blank icon. DexterGenius had earlier installed the app and decompiled it.

He also posted screenshots of the app and several pop up ads:

Fake WhatsApp
  • Save
Pic cred: @DexterGenius

The app appears to be developed by WhatsApp Inc, however it was discovered that it had a hidden space at the end to allow the fake version to masquerade as a genuine WhatsApp Inc product. It contains two bytes: 0xC2 0xA0, forming an invisible space. Sneaky.

READ ALSO  Huawei Ascend Mate 7 phablet lands in Malaysia

Google’s comprehensive security system Play Protect clearly failed to identify the fake app and developer. Play Protect supposedly vets every app developer in Google Play, and apps undergo rigorous security testing before they appear in the Play Store. In its product page, Google says “50 billion apps scanned day makes life a little easier.”

Google purportedly uses machine learning to spot bad app. According to Google’s 2016 Android security report, about 50 bad apps let Android malware rack up to 4.2 million downloads. These downloads enabled fraudsters to make money by secretly sending premium-rate SMSes and subscribing users to paid online services unknowingly.

Fake WhatsApp
  • Save
How’s this even allowed, Google?

What you can do

If you’ve fallen victim to one of these fake apps, uninstall it immediately. Also ensure you only download from the Google Play Store, and not from unknown sources or links from outside of the official store. Yes, as demonstrated, some fake/malicious apps still escape, which makes it even more crucial that you look at the details before downloading any apps.

Do pay attention to the app name, developer, rating and reviews/comments.

Installing a mobile security app like F-Secure, Sophos, Norton, Trend Micro and others will give you added protection and security.

Via The Register

READ ALSO  5 things you need to know about Nokia’s Treasure Tag
Advertisements
IA- Shopee Mart
  • Vernon

    Founder + Chief Editor

    Vernon is the founder and chief editor of Vernonchan.com. A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.

You May Also Like

Huawei P20 Pro Twilight
  • Save

Limited units of Huawei P20 Pro Twilight to be sold on 4 May

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More If you’re in love with ...

webe launch
  • Save

Webe introduces mobile and broadband plans for SMEs

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More After initially rolling out its ...

  • Save

[MWC 2014] Sirius Things You Need to Know About Rumoured Sony Xperia Z2

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More Save After the Samsung GALAXY ...

vivo NEX
  • Save

Vivo NEX officially on sale in Malaysia now

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More Vivo’s latest flagship smartphone and ...

Celcom GBshare
  • Save

Celcom GBshare – share up to 70GB of Celcom FIRST data

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More Celcom introduces a new feature ...

Nokia Lumia 920
  • Save

Nokia Malaysia Officially Launches Lumia 920 and Lumia 820

Share via: Shares Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy Link More Save Nokia Malaysia has finally ...

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap