WhatsApp application: beware of infected imitations!

WhatsApp warns its users about fake apps that impersonate messaging. They promise additional features, but actually contain malware that steals victims’ personal information.

With its billions of users – and therefore potential victims – WhatsApp is often the target of hackers who lack neither the ingenuity nor the nerve to achieve their goals. The application is therefore regularly the target of phishing campaigns. In some cases, scammers even call users randomly to convince them to dial a specific number. If the contacted person complies, they will be logged out of their WhatsApp account while hackers take control of their account. And that’s without considering the fake, virulent applications that currently abound in app stores and websites…

WhatsApp: Fake apps that steal personal information

Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at the Meta Group – which also owns Facebook, Instagram and Messenger – warned users about fake WhatsApp apps in a tweet. While they promise additional features, they actually contain malware that steals victims’ personal information. This is the case of the “Hey WhatsApp” application, which notably offers the possibility of customizing its interface.

“Downloading a fake or modified version of WhatsApp is never a good idea. These apps appear to be harmless, but they can bypass WhatsApp’s privacy and security protections.” explains Will Cathcart. For this reason, it is imperative to download the WhatsApp application through the official store or on the messaging service’s website.

A recurring problem for Android users

This problem only affects Android users because Play Store contains many infected apps. Apple, on the other hand, only allows downloading apps that have been approved by the App Store. Fortunately, WhatsApp is currently working with Google to combat this problem. For example, Google Play Protect can now detect and disable these malicious apps even after they are installed. “Of course, we will continue our efforts to detect and block these types of apps in the future. We will also take enforcement action against HeyMods to prevent future harm, and we will explore new legal avenues to hold HeyMods and others like them accountable draw.” said Will Cathcart. “Mobile phone malware is a harmful threat that must be combated, and the security community continues to develop new ways to prevent its proliferation.” Similarly, WhatsApp continues to add new features to its messaging such as: B. the ability to have one account for two smartphones and new privacy features to discourage its users from turning to third-party applications.

If alternative stores are allowed on Android – Amazon App Store, AppGallery, Samsung Galaxy Store – this is not the case on Apple devices. The Apple company justifies this decision with the need to secure users’ personal and banking data, which it cannot do without having full control over all links in the value chain. By preventing the installation of banned applications, Apple prevents malware. In return, the developers are heavily burdened …

However, Apple could soon be forced to open up its operating system by giving access to the competition. In fact, the European Union is in the process of introducing new rules for digital players: the DMA (Digital Markets Act) and the DSA (Digital Services Act). “The European Parliament has achieved a world first by adopting strong and ambitious regulation of online platforms.”Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the Commission for Digital Affairs, said in a press release announcing its adoption by the European Parliament. “The Digital Services Act helps protect users’ rights online, while the Digital Markets Act helps create fair and open online markets. […] Large platforms must give up promoting their own interests and share their data with other companies and allow more app stores.”

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