Google Play Store, the largest collection of smartphone apps on the planet, has been under severe criticism for failing to block the reportedly fake version of WhatsApp Messenger. This was pointed out by renowned tech blogs but unfortunately more than one million users have already downloaded the fake and possibly malicious Android app that was pretended to be WhatsApp.
Fake WhatsApp on Play Store
The app under fire was called “Update WhatsApp Messenger” and is still on the Play Store, although the developer has cleverly changed its name to “Dual Whatsweb Update” and switched the icon that doesn’t look like the WhatsApp icon anymore.
Some other blogs have also spotted more such apps lurking on the Play Store, with download number in thousands though. Not to mention that the real WhatsApp has over one billion downloads.
The fake app did cleverly attract WhatsApp users with the prefix of “Update” as the users thought it would be the latest update of WhatsApp Messenger. It seems that people who were fooled, remained lucky enough as the app’s goal was just to create advertising revenue. But beware hackers can use the same techniques of spoofing legitimate apps on Play Store to hack victims.
The existence of the shady software was first highlighted by the popular WhatsApp change tracking website WABetaInfo, via Twitter user @MujtabaMHaq pointing out “Whatsapp Business” surfaced on Play Store with one thousand downloads.
Following the tweet, WhatsApp Business exclaimed on twitter mentioning that the app is not officially available for all so far.
Thanks to report this.— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) October 31, 2017
Please followers, DON'T DOWNLOAD THIS APP! IT'S FAKE!
WhatsApp Business IS NOT OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE YET FOR ALL.
Check only official channels to download WhatsApp Business *in future*.@WhatsApp should ask to @GooglePlay to remove it as soon as possible. https://t.co/Uve3Y3vsbp
Play Store and Fake Apps
This is not the first time someone tried to deceive Android users with fake and malicious app. The Google Play Store has long been filled up with these kind of apps. However, based on the number of downloads, this fake version of WhatsApp is one of the most successful attempt ever.
In the last couple of years, Google has made significant improvements in an attempt to close the gap with Apple and iOS in terms of security. But until the company does better at cleaning up the Play Store, users will be vulnerable.