App promises to add unique features to WhatsApp, actually infects your smartphone with malware that steals photos and videos
Computer dangers for WhatsApp users are the order of the day: Scam messages inviting the user to renew the app's subscription (when it's actually free), links to click on to win prizes (but actually trying to steal the user's bank account information) and apps to download to get extra features.
The latest scam that is running in these hours on WhatsApp concerns precisely a fake app: its name is evocative, WhatsApp Plus. It's not the first time that an application with this name is spread on the Net, promising special features, but actually hiding viruses and trying to steal everything on the smartphone. To report the presence of WhatsApp Plus are the guys from Malwarebytes, experts in computer security and who are always on the lookout for new dangers on the Net.
How WhatsApp Plus works
The application is not present in the Google Play Store or the App Store, but is circulating in the form of links within forums and group chats on instant messaging apps. When you press on the link, you are transferred to a page where you can download the WhatsApp Plus APK. For those who don't know, the APK is the format with which files are shared to install an app without having to go through the Google Play Store. Very often it happens that malicious apps are hidden inside APK files, and WhatsApp Plus is one of them.
Once you launch the application you'll be asked to update WhatsApp to a new version to get new features, such as the ability to use four different WhatsApp accounts on the same smartphone, you can hide the "is writing.." notification and the double blue ticks. These are special features that every WhatsApp user dreams of, but for different reasons are not present in the official version of the app. If we complete the update to WhatsApp Plus we will not get the promised features, but several viruses will be installed on the smartphone that aim to steal the data on the smartphone.
What are the dangers of WhatsApp Plus
WhatsApp Plus is a much more dangerous application than you may think. Not only is it a fake WhatsApp, but it also endangers your privacy by stealing images, videos and phone numbers saved on your smartphone. All the data is sent to a server and made available to hackers who can sell it on the dark web.
How to defend yourself against WhatsApp Plus
Let's start with the basics: there are no alternative versions of WhatsApp. There is only one application and it is recognized on the Google Play Store and the App Store because it has more than a billion downloads. Also, in case developers release new features, the update will be available on the official stores and you won't have to download it through a link sent on forums or in messaging chats. Finally, never click on links sent by people you don't know: it is very easy to hide viruses that steal personal information or lock your device.