A fake WhatsApp application has been spotted on the web, with the potential to gain access to your personal information. The dubious app, called WhatsApp Plus, is being circulated through spam comments, which lead you to the APK for download. Called “WhatsApp Plus”, this is essentially a variant of a fake WhatsApp riskware that was discovered last year.
What is WhatsApp Plus
This fake version of WhatsApp features a gold logo, instead of the original green logo, and has a URL and a handle written inside. The first thing that is prompted after you click on ‘Agree and Continue’ is that the version is out-of-date. The error message directs you to the Google Play Store for installing the latest version of the app. However, there’s a download option as well, which takes you to the URL from the gold logo. The website is in Arabic, stating details of the developer of the app.
Based on the information, the fake app appears to be developed by someone named Abu. Folks at Malwarebytes Lab sifted through the website, and found that the app is being periodically updated. It is said to be encrypted. Now, what is interesting is that the app supports up to four numbers on a single device. It is unclear how this feature would work.
The app further includes features such as hiding your last appearance, hiding read texts, received texts, and also hiding the current writing. There’s also an option to hide that you have played a voice clip. You can also hide that you have watched the status of your friend through the settings menu. Other features include support for 100 photo sharing at once, secret password for privacy, and more. While many of these features replicate the original WhatsApp, some of the features appear unique to the WhatsApp Plus fake app.
How WhatsApp Plus works
WhatsApp Plus is said to be a variant of the Android/PUP.Riskware.Wtaspin.GB. The underlying code com.gb.atnfas is in various fake WhatsApp APKs. However, this one in particular points to the Arabic webpage to update the app. The security experts scanned through several versions of the riskware, and all appeared to have different URLs for updating the app. This leads to the question of who exactly is the original author of the app, if everyone is essentially copying the original source code and adding their own update website.
Watch: WhatsApp features in 2017
While the exact working of the WhatsApp Plus is yet to be decoded, it is said to have the potential to steal information, photos, phone numbers, and more from your mobile phone. Although Google Play Store has come under flak time and again for allowing unauthentic apps on its platform, it is always advisable to install genuine apps from the official Play Store.
Last week, an app called “Chatwatch” was found using WhatsApp’s online or offline status feature to tell users how often their friends check the micro-blogging platform and also estimate when they go to bed every day — potentially making it an invasive app. The app could also estimate what time a user goes to sleep and wakes up each day.