Fake WhatsApp app fooled million Android users on Google Play

A fake version of the Android WhatsApp app was downloaded a million times from the Google Play Store before users discovered the fraud, and Google removed it.

Android security: Coin miners show up in apps and sites to wear out your CPU

Android security: Coin miners show up in apps and sites to wear out your CPU

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One of several fake WhatsApp apps was downloaded between one million and five million times before it was flagged by users on Reddit. The app, which was called ‘Update WhatsApp’, looked identical to the real WhatsApp.

So, the real WhatsApp developer ID URL looks like this:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=WhatsApp+Inc

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=WhatsApp+Inc.%C2%A0

Fortunately, the developer appears only to have used the bogus app to make money through advertising. However, the same technique could have been used to distribute more harmful malware.

The Play Store is widely recommended as the safest place from which to install Android but Google has had trouble keeping it free of malware. The latest trend among developers is to hide cryptocurrency miners in apps, which use a device’s CPU without asking the user permission.

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Fake WhatsApp with a 4.2 star rating and over 6,000 reviews.

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