Making more than 1 million users believe that it is the original Whatsapp program which demands an update is not an easy task but the hackers with lots of technical loopholes managed to install their malware ad on Google Play Store.
Gaining access into the official Play store which is populated by millions of original apps is very difficult but the hacking team pulled it off and they even managed to show that the app was uploaded by Whatsapp Inc. the original company which is now owned by Facebook. As soon as you open the app, you will receive a prompt that claims the messenger should be updated to the latest version.
The original developers of the app had made a name for themselves by rolling out updates frequently and users had no reason to suspect the malware when it send another new update is available for them to download. According to the security experts, the malicious code developers had made use of the technology named Unicode trickery which allowed them to make the fake ad-malware look as if it comes from the original developers and the fake codes behind the company name will be hidden using the tool.
An invisible character space has been used to dupe users using which the Whatsapp Inc %C2%A0 name has been established to make it look as legitimate as it could get. Once an user downloads the file, it will install the app as any other Android app would but will also add an advertising malware along with the bundle.
A Reddit user named Dexter Genius was the first person to spot this and he managed to decompile the code within the app to find what it is really up to. He concluded that the app requests minimal permission because it is an ad-load wrapper that downloads a second apk file named whatsapp.apk and it tries to hide among other apps in the Android smartphone. It doesn’t have any title and no icons so that the user will never be able to find it is actually present on their phone ever.
Security experts at Google has managed to find that a fake version of the Whatsapp is making rounds in the official Play Store and removed it a couple of days ago. However, with more than a million users who have already downloaded the program, everyone is at risk as they should find the codes and remove it from their Android smartphone so as to stop receiving malicious ads on their apps.
Further research is on to find how they managed to fake Whatsapp which is owned by Facebook and is one of the most popular communication apps. Users can consider installing an anti-malware program which should be able to find the app. Another way to find it is to browse through your collection of apps in the app browser and find if an empty space is occupied in the corner or any location without a name or an icon.
Based on the discovery made by the Reddit user, the app doesn’t have a name or an icon so that it could hide within your other apps without showing any traces of an ad-malware installed on the system. It can be removed either manually or by using an antivirus program. Google is expected to make a statement and also provide a solution for users who downloaded it because it was found in the Google Play Store, besides having the official Whatsapp Inc. link that duped even users who are usually aware of malware programs and illegal app links that try to find a way into their phone.
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