A new dummy version of WhatsApp has just appeared on the web. Very similar to the original, WhatsApp Plus is packed with alluring features. Unfortunately, the application has only one purpose: to collect personal data on your smartphone, such as your photos.
This is not the first time a copy of WhatsApp is doing damage. Last year, fake versions of WhatsApp infested the Google Play Store. One of them has even been downloaded more than a million times. Very similar to the official app, this copy of WhatsApp was looking to generate advertising revenue on behalf of hackers by bombarding you with pop-ups.
(WhatsApp Plus: do not download this dummy application!)
WhatsApp Plus is spreading on the web via a link that contains an APK file, explain the Malwarebytes Lab researchers. Once the link is open, WhatsApp Plus will ask you to go to the Google Play Store to install its latest version. Hackers will obviously redirect you to a copy of the Google Play Store.
To convince you to download WhatsApp Plus, hackers promise to allow you to “send more than 100 photos once and hide from your contacts if you have received their message”. Stay tuned when you download an app, whether or not it’s on the Play Store: there are several clues that can put you on the wrong track. In this case, some texts are written in Arabic.
Once installed on your smartphone, WhatsApp Plus will work as the official app: you will be able to send and receive messages. Only difference, and size: the application will collect your personal data, such as the numbers in your address book and your photos. Malwarebytes currently does not know why this application steals your private data.
Malwarebytes “suggests being satisfied with the actual WhatsApp present on the Google Play Store”. Even if the Google store has flaws (we do not count the number of malware that passes between his nets) the Play Store is much safer than the applications you can find on the web. To get the latest version of your favorite email application safely, download WhatsApp from the Google Play Store.