Emerging Threats

Fake WhatsApp Android apps downloaded over a million times

Written by a NortonLifeLock employee


Several malicious apps have been downloaded from the Google Play Store millions of times, disguised as legitimate versions of the popular messaging platform “WhatsApp.” These malicious apps are carrying malware known as Android.Fakeapp.

Google removed these apps once they were uncovered. However, the malicious apps were downloaded over a million times since they went online.

At this time the malware on “Update WhatsApp” has been discovered to be a type of advertising software that makes money by displaying ads on infected devices. Luckily, there is no sign of any sensitive information being stolen.

Cybercriminals are becoming extremely clever these days by creating apps that look practically identical to the real thing. It’s simply a matter of copying popular application names, creating the similar icons, and using the legitimate developer names in the app listing on the Google Play Store.

As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to properly identify if an application is the real thing or not, but security software such as NortonTM Mobile Security can help. It helps protect against and remove malware.

How to Help Stay Protected:

While having a good education about mobile threats can help protect you, it can only get you so far. A good mobile Internet security suite such as Norton Mobile Security will have detections in place for malware, and may halt it in its tracks before it installs on your device. Norton Mobile Security comes with a handy tool — Norton App Advisor — that can help to protect your device by warning about apps that can leak personal information, serve pop-up ads on your device, drain your device’s battery, and show unusual behavior.

Always read app reviews. If a highly rated app has few written reviews, that is a red flag. Oftentimes, if there is a problem with the app, users will comment on what the issue is.

Examine the app description carefully. Take a look at who the developer is, the quality of the graphics and logos, and also grammar and spelling issues. A slight misspelling or rewording of the app’s name can help you spot counterfeit apps. If anything looks out of place, think twice before downloading.

Norton Mobile Security

Proactive protection for smartphones and tablets to help you enjoy the powerful potential of mobile

Disclaimers and references:
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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