WhatsApp fans who use the popular messaging service on Android should be aware of a significant threat to their devices. The urgent warning has been released by the security team at Dr. Web who say they have found a worrying type of malware that can leave some WhatsApp at serious risk of attack from hackers.

It sounds truly terrifying but before you start to panic it’s worth noting that this threat is only a concern if you’ve been tempted to download a WhatsApp mod from the internet.

This unofficial software, which is often advertised on social media, usually offers an abundance of extra features not found in the standard Facebook-owned app. With so many bonus additions such as hide status options and call blocking it’s easy to see why some Android users can be tempted into installing these files onto their devices.

However, Dr. Web says that a number of mods found on the internet – including GBWhatsApp, OBWhatsApp, and WhatsApp Plus – come with a nasty hidden surprise.

Once installed, they set about wreaking havoc on devices with malware able to steal notifications and direct users to malicious websites without their knowledge.

Speaking about the threat, Dr Web said in a post on its blog: “In January, Doctor Web malware analysts traced the spread of a new Android trojan dubbed Android.Spy.4498. Threat actors built it into some versions of unofficial modifications (mods) of WhatsApp messenger, including GBWhatsApp, OBWhatsApp, and WhatsApp Plus. Then, they distributed them through malicious websites.

“The main functionality of the Android.Spy.4498 is to hijack the contents from other apps’ notifications. Yet, it also can download apps and offer users to install them and display dialog boxes with the contents it receives from the attackers.”

Android users are now being urged to check what they downloading from the web and avoid installing APK files without doing some research first.

To stay safe it’s always best to install software from official sources such as the Play Store.

This latest WhatsApp news comes after security experts recently warned that threats targeting the hugely popular Android operating system are surging across Europe, with some malware attacks jumping up to 500 percent. The expert team at Proofpoint has published an in-depth report about the latest attacks and it makes for some terrifying reading if you have an Android smartphone shoved in your pocket.

“Most mobile malware is still downloaded from app stores but over the past year or so, we’ve seen an increase in campaigns that use SMS/mobile messaging as their delivery mechanism,” Proofpoint explained in its blog post. “For better or worse, Android takes a more open approach. The platform is open to multiple app stores. And users can easily sideload apps from anywhere on the internet. It’s this last feature that makes the platform popular with bad actors, who know that Android phones can be compromised in just a few steps.”





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