Beware-YouTube and WhatsApp copycat apps are hiding malware

Your smart phone is now your pocket-sized portable computer, which we use for almost everything is our daily lives, from Online Banking, Shopping to translating languages and much much more. All of these tasks rely on secure Apps to help you stay more organized and secure. 

But you must be careful when looking for apps to add to your device. Cybercriminals are getting better at spoofing real apps to trick victims into downloading ones that are hiding malware. A new group of apps has been caught hiding malware, including YouTube and WhatsApp lookalikes. Read on to avoid these dangerous apps.

What to look for:

Android devices are constantly on the radar of cyber criminals, who create malicious apps to infect their gadgets. Facebook’s parent company Meta has highlighted the severity of the problem, explaining in its 2022 second quarter a report that one hacker group is exploiting several legitimate apps..

The malware gives cybercriminals access to your personal information. It can steal call logs, files, SMS text messages, contact information, device details and more. But the threats don’t stop there. The malware can also enable your phone’s camera and microphone to secretly take photos, videos and record conversations.!

The group of malicious apps includes spoofed versions of YouTube and WhatsApp. Here is the list of spoofed apps to avoid:

  • YouTube
  • Signal
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp

Meta said that other chat applications capable of accessing call logs, contacts, files, and text messages could also be compromised

The group behind the bad apps has also been able to keep them from being detected by some antivirus software.

How to help avoid these lookalikes:

Even though official app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store sometimes let bad apps slip by their vetting process, it’s best to stick with official app stores. Third-party stores are more likely to have infected apps hiding in them.

Here are a few tips to avoid apps hiding malware:

  • For Android users, turn on Google Play Protect by heading to Google Play Store > Profile > Play Protect > Settings and turn on Scan apps with Play Protect.
  • Only download apps from official app stores. Always go to the official source and double-check that you are installing the correct app.
  • Watch out for apps that use a similar logo to other popular apps or have similar functions. Also, check reviews to see if others are warning about suspicious activity.
  • Pay attention to permissions. Stay away if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications. 
  • Keep your device updated. Always ensure your operating system and antivirus software is on the latest version.
  • Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices.

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