Fake WhatsApp Downloaded Over 1 Million Times On Google Play.
But developers have long been able to get malicious apps hosted on the Play Store despite all of its attempts to rid itself of the problem. It does not help its case when someone gets a fake WhatsApp listed, and not only was the app listed, it was also downloaded by over one million unsuspecting users.
The app was called Update WhatsApp Messenger, and the apps developer pretended to be the official Facebook-owned service with the developer title WhatsApp Inc. That is the very same title that the real WhatsApp uses on the Play Store.
The developer was able to get away with this by adding a Unicode character space after the title. In reality, this is what the title actually looked like with the hidden character: included: WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0. This allowed the fake title to appear the same as the real one.
Those who downloaded the app found that it was not WhatsApp but one that displayed ads to download other apps. It required minimal permissions so those who uninstalled it unknowingly might not have had their data stolen.
The fake WhatsApp program has now been removed by Google from the Play Store. However, it shows yet again that the company needs to do more in order to prevent such malicious apps from finding their way into what is supposed to be the only trusted source for android downloads.