Over a million people have been tricked into downloading a fake version of WhatsApp. The app, called “Update WhatsApp Messenger”, had been disguised to look just like the real deal. However, all it actually did was bombard users with ads and try to get them to install another dodgy program. Apart from having a slightly different name to the actual version of – WhatsApp which is listed as “WhatsApp Messenger” in the Google Play store – Update WhatsApp Messenger looked very convincing. The fake program used the official WhatsApp logo and had a high user rating of 4.2 stars. It even appeared to have been developed by WhatsApp Inc., the creators of the real WhatsApp app.
According to Hacker News, the people behind the fake app managed to pull off this trick by adding an invisible Unicode character space to the end of the name, which in computer code reads “WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0”.
The app has now been taken down by Google.
Mauritian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU)
National Computer Board
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