WhatsApp has, yet again, found itself in the middle of a privacy row. A recent report has stated that hackers had made a fake version of WhatsApp to collect sensitive information from iPhone users.
According to a Vice report, cybersecurity research lab at the University of Toronto, Citizen Lab and Motherboard discovered the fake version of WhatsApp for iPhones.
The report notes that the fake version of WhatsApp was developed by an entity named Cy4Gate.
A website with domain config5-dati[.]com was telling iPhone users to download the fake WhatsApp app which was not actually a mobile application but a configuration file for the iPhone. The fake app was purposefully designed to extract personal and sensitive data of users.
"I think it is targeted, I don't think they were trying to spread this around," Bill Marczak, a researcher from Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs at Toronto University, had told Motherboard.
This serious breach of sensitive information has been acknowledged by WhatsApp. "We strongly oppose abuse from spyware companies, regardless of their clientele. Modifying WhatsApp to harm others violates our terms of service. We have and will continue to take action against such abuse, including in court," a WhatsApp spokesperson told Motherboard.
"To help keep chats safe, we recommend that people download WhatsApp from the app store for their phone's platform. In addition, we may temporarily ban people using modified WhatsApp clients we detect to help encourage people to download WhatsApp from an authoritative source," the WhatsApp spokesperson added.