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Fake WhatsApp Android App Downloaded Over 1 Million Times

06 Novembre 2017

Users should always check the rating of apps and be wary of those with anything below a four-star rating.

Google removed a fake version of the popular messaging service WhatsApp from the Play Store after it had been downloaded over 1 million times, the BBC first reported.

Alerting users to the issue one Android user on Google Play complained that the app was full of adverts, while another claimed it was being used for "data theft".

To dupe users, the malicious developers created an ID nearly indistinguishable from WhatsApp's own, save for the addition of Unicode - known as a "no-break space" - at the end of its name. In reality, this is what the title actually is with the hidden character space: WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0. But to average Android users browsing Google Play, that character space would be easy to miss.

The app, which was discovered by Reddit users, has now been removed from the Google Play Store, but there are a number of other apps that look similar to the real thing.

However, it was instead a fake app that contained adverts and download malicious software onto a user's device.

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If you're anxious about having a fake version of WhatsApp on your Android phone, here's how to check if you have downloaded the real thing. It has since been removed from Google Play.

The app, "Update WhatsApp Messenger", appeared to have been developed by the firm behind the real program - WhatsApp Inc. Once installed, the app created a blank icon so users couldn't see it. But the WhatsApp dummy product incident is worrisome because it doesn't appear that Google noticed the problem.

Megared17 wrote: 'There are extra bytes which are a Unicode space at the end of the fake one. In addition, the company has been using new security measures to prevent malware from entering the platform.

Fake apps are a fairly regular occurrence on the Google Play store.

Open your device's. Settings app. ...

Fake WhatsApp Android App Downloaded Over 1 Million Times