Reported by Forbes, Cybersecurity researchers have warned that about 25 million Android phones have been hit with malware that replaces WhatsApp with a strange version that shows ads and is not original.
Israeli security company Check Point says that malware replaces the current version of WhatsApp with the one that shows ads. Mind you, WhatsApp has not officially rolled out ads yet though there have been discussions to introduce it at some point, no official word is given yet. WhatsApp version that shows ads is not an authentic one and you may have been compromised, to say the least. There is another fake app trending among Android users called WhatsApp Gold.
It is estimated that about 15 million Indian Android WhatsApp users have been affected by the malware from the fake app.
When the security experts explored the matter in depth, it was shockingly discovered that the fake version was downloaded from Chinese Android play store owned by Alibaba called 9apps.
“Due to its ability to hide it’s icon from the launcher and impersonates any popular existing apps on a device, there are endless possibilities for this sort of malware to harm a user’s device,” the Checkpoint researchers wrote.
The research company says they’d warned Google and the relevant law enforcement agencies. However, Google is yet to comment on the issue at the time of writing this article.
What can you do?
- First, go to Android settings
- Tab the apps and notifications section.
- Check app info list and look for suspicious applications with names like Google Updater, Google Installer for U, Google Powers and Google Installer.
- Click the suspicious application and Uninstall it.
- Go to Google play store and install WhatsApp from there.