WhatsApp security warning: Urgent information for millions of iPhone and Android smartphone users

Millions of WhatsApp users have been warned to double-check they are using the real version to avoid a major personal security risk.

According to the company, there are “clones” of the original smartphone messaging app.

Users may have downloaded one accidentally, or downloaded a malicious version on purpose to take advantage of the bonus features associated with it.

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Now, WhatsApp is warning against such unauthorized versions as they could put users at risk.

“Unofficial WhatsApp apps are modified versions of our app, which means they are developed by third parties and violate our terms of service,” WhatsApp warned.

“We do not support these apps because they put your privacy, safety and security at risk.

“If you use them, there is no guarantee that your messages or data, such as your location or the files you share, will be private and secure.”

The official app prides itself on enabling protected and secure conversations, claiming, “Connecting people privately is at the heart of our mission.”

WhatsApp has given users a new deadline to agree to its controversial terms and conditions. Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images

But the company said it was impossible to guarantee the security of conversations, messages and personal information when using a fake version of WhatsApp.

Using the unauthorized version of the app still allows users to log into the official WhatsApp messenger normally.

However, deliberately using a “fake” version of the app to message others violates WhatsApp’s terms of service.

This might result in the user being completely banned from the app, making them unable to use the genuine app.

The security risk is directed at iPhone or Android users, as Google smartphones warn users if they are about to download a fraudulent version of the app.

“If you received this Play Protect warning from Google, you are probably using an unauthorized and unofficial version of WhatsApp,” WhatsApp explained.

“For security reasons, Google may disable and uninstall these applications.”

However, the company says smartphone users should not rely on this and should do their own checks.

How to get the extra features, safely

WhatsApp is constantly designing and testing new features for the app.

Before they go live on official WhatsApp, the changes are tested on a “beta” version of the app.

The company claims that this is a legit way to get special extra features.

The beta app is free and gives users access to secret new features that other users cannot use.

Joining the beta version of WhatsApp on iPhone is difficult because its capacity is limited, but Android users are in luck.

To sign up, head to the Google Play store and search for WhatsApp.

Users can scroll down the page until they see “Become a beta tester”.

Press the “I’m in” button then click “Join” to confirm.

Then users just have to wait for the beta version update of the app.

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