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Fake WhatsApp App for Android Downloaded by Over 1 Million People

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Google Store is the most popular app for Android phone owners who want to download games, phone applications and more. However, in recent years hackers are more and more determined to obtain personal information or send bugs. Google programs are no exception to malicious contents and Play Store is still full of malicious copycats of popular apps.

Fake Android app downloaded by Google Play Store users

WhatsApp is perhaps the most popular instant messaging service, free of charge and available to multiple platform users, including Android ones. More than one million people were tricked to download what they thought was the official WhatsApp app. The fake app named “Update WhatsApp” is available on Google Play Store and its purpose is to trick users into downloading it. Since its initial release, the developer changed the apps name from “Update WhatsApp” into “Dual Whatsweb Update”. Reddit was the one to discover and publish about the existence of the malicious app.

Not a first for Google Play Store

This incident is not a premiere for Google Play Store. Android users were previously misled by various types of fake apps. This one appears to be the most successful one.

Security researchers were quick to react. Stephen Ridley, co-author of the Android Hacker’s Handbook has addressed this issue on Twitter.

Another security researcher who was quick to respond was Nikolaos Chrysaidos, who works for the anti-virus company Avast. According to him, the fake WhatsApp had the purpose of creating revenue through ads. He also pointed to several other fake apps such as a fake Facebook Messenger one. The latter was downloaded 10 million times.

Hackers spoof legitimate apps and then introduce the fake ones to Play Store. Google is working on preventing these kind of attacks.