Fake WhatsApp App Downloaded over 1 Million Times

Be on the lookout for fake apps.

We just told you about a fake BlackBerry Hub+ app that is currently live on the app store. Luckily, the developer of that app has made no real effort to disguise the app as the original. That was not the case for a fake WhatsApp app that was recently removed from the Google Play Store.

While the app title, “Update WhatsApp Messenger” seems like it should be a dead giveaway that it’s not the real app, the developer utilized another trick to make the app look legitimate. The developer behind the fake WhatsApp app, utilized Unicode which is not seen within the Google Play Store to make it appear that the app was actually released by WhatsApp. Downloaders saw the developer name as WhatsApp Inc, but the actual developer name was WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0. Unfortunately, this was enough to trick over one million users who downloaded the app. With a different app name, and the Unicode utilized to camouflage the developer name, the app made it’s way on to the Google Play Store without looking like a duplicate to the actual WhatsApp.

The app itself, was adware. Once installed on a device, it proceeded to inundate users with advertisements in a monetization scheme by the developer. Upon discovery by users, the app was pulled from the Google Play Store and Google has suspended the app developer. In reality, in this case, users are lucky as this was only adware. Malware is disguised everyday as legitimate apps, and seems to be a very successful way in which malware makers are able to infect user.

source: Motherboard


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