WhatsApp users are being warned over a dangerous type of “malware” that swaps your chat app with a hacked version.
Experts warn that 25million WhatsApp users who own Android smartphones have been affected – putting them at risk of being spied on by hackers.
Experts are warning over a ‘hacked’ version of WhatsApp that sneaks onto your phone. The malware is called “Agent Smith”, and replaces your WhatsApp with a dodgy version that serves you up advertisements – earning money for crooks.
However, experts say the malware leaves you open to more dangerous hack attacks, and could hand your private info to hackers on a plate.
Cybersecurity experts at Check Point – who uncovered the bug – say most victims are in India, where up to 15million users are affected. But it’s estimated that 137,000 Brits and 300,000 Americans have also been caught up in the scam.
The infected app looks identical to your normal WhatsApp app. For most users, the fake WhatsApp will simply be a major nuisance.
The main route of this malicious app is through third-party apps that you’ve downloaded from somewhere other than the Google Play Store.
These can be photo apps, games or social apps, but they all share one thing in common which is being created by scammers.
“In the first phase, the attacker lures users to download a dropper application from an app store such as 9Apps,” Check Point researchers explained.
“These droppers are usually disguised as free games, utility applications or adult entertainment applications, yet contain an encrypted malicious payload.”
This app then silently installs the malware on your system, but disguises it as a “Google Updater” tool.
You won’t see any icon for this app on your screen, making it more difficult to spot and delete.
The malware then replaces WhatsApp with an infected version of the app on your device.
.HOW TO KNOW
- One of the major things to notice when your app gets affected is that It will serve up “malicious” ads at random times, which are difficult or impossible to quit.
- This app will then spam you with annoying ads, all while generating quick cash for crooks.
There are ways to eliminate this malware, click here to know