The app, “Update WhatsApp Messenger”, appeared to have been developed by the firm behind the real program – WhatsApp Inc.
According to users on web forum Reddit, the fake WhatsApp app contained ads and could download software to users’ devices.
It has now been removed from the Play Store.
According to BBC, whoever was behind the app managed to make it look as though its developer was “WhatsApp Inc”.
They did this by using that exact name, though replacing the space with a special character that looks like a space.
The subtle difference would have been practically undetectable to the average user.
Users receiving automatic updates via the real WhatsApp would not have been affected.
It is far from the first time that Google has had to clean up fake malicious apps on the Play Store.
In 2015, the firm had to step in and block one program that disguised itself as a battery monitor and sent premium-rate text messages from people’s phones.
To all Whatsapp users, who recently download WhatsApp from Google play store, check to see that your Whatsapp app does not contain Ads. If it does, this is likely the fake Whatsapp app and you should be deleted immediately.