Shortly after the implementation of the function to delete messages on WhatsApp, in addition to other similar platforms, apps began to appear that offer users to retrieve these messages. According to data protection specialists, although most of these apps are junk (like the so-called WiFi password deciphering tools), a new app seems to fulfill this task, albeit at a high cost to the user.
Recently the use of a mobile app with Android operating system called WAMR, whose developers claim allows users to recover messages deleted by their partner or friends via WhatsApp (although it can also work on Telegram or Facebook Messenger). The creators of WAMR even claim that using this app it is possible to recover other types of files, such as voice notes, images and videos.
However, it is not all good news, because, according to data protection experts, users may be giving up the privacy provided by these platforms by using this app. Strictly speaking, WAMR does not recover deleted messages, instead it captures notifications on our devices. When any user deletes a WhatsApp message before the recipient opens the app, WAMR notifies the user if it was able to collect the information before it was deleted.
While it may seem like a good option not to lose a single detail of a WhatsApp conversation or group, the data protection experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) consider it to be a security risk as it users who install this app need to grant you extensive permissions, which can compromise data operated by other apps, files stored in the device’s memory, Internet search histories, and even the device users’ contact list.
Although Google often removes potentially harmful apps, WAMR is still available for download through the official Play Store platform. At the time of writing, WAMR had been downloaded more than 10 million times; when you check the app’s permissions, it’s mentioned that it requires access to the user’s storage, although it warns that subsequent updates might request additional permissions.
The presence of malicious apps on the Play Store remains a serious problem for Google, developers, and especially for smartphone users. Recently a group of data protection experts discovered at least 85 apps available in the official store that contained malware or displayed advertisements that redirected users to malicious content websites or, in other cases, spam-infested sites. After receiving the reports Google began to remove the malicious apps from the Play Store, in addition to warning users about the use of some infected apps. Malicious apps included photo editors, some videogames, among other apps.