Most Zimbabweans have come to love and use WhatsApp almost on a daily basis. However, some find its features a little bit limited so they’ve turned to other alternatives. One such alternative is an app called GB WhatsApp and it offers people so much more than the official WhatsApp. Due to that, GB WhatsApp has seen a rise in popularity but is it really safe to use?
Why do people use GB WhatsApp?
Okay, before we get to if it is safe, let’s take a look at the features that the app has that have caused people to use it. In its early days, the main differentiating factor of the app was its custom look. Now, this wasn’t the first app to allow people to select custom themes and colors for their WhatsApp as another app called WhatsApp Plus had existed.
Unfortunately, WhatsApp Plus users were frequently blocked by the official WhatsApp and this saw the decline of that app. GB WhatsApp came to fill in that gap and ended up providing so much more without getting users banned. Among other features, the app allows people to hide the Blue ticks, preview image/video without loading, send a broadcast message to 600 people at once, and send 90 images at once.
Modded apps and WhatsApp
Right, just hang on we’ll get to the question if it is safe for use in a moment, we first need to get a clear picture of how GB WhatsApp provides all these features in order to know if it is safe. The app is a modded app which is basically an app that builds on top of the original app’s features through some added code.
Remember WhatsApp Plus, the app that we mentioned earlier that got people banned? It too was a modded app but the way they were doing it ended up getting them noticed by the official WhatsApp and that resulted in people using the app being banned. So how were they detected and why aren’t people using GB WhatsApp getting banned too?
The official app has something called WhatsApp core within it. This is like the heart of the app and it contains all the special capabilities of WhatsApp like encryption. If someone messes with that core in their modded app, then WhatsApp will know and take protective measures, I mean it’s their heart for crying out loud.
How does the app provide all that?
GB WhatsApp is careful enough not to mess with the core. What they do is alter the style files which are not protected in any app really to provide you with some of the unique design features we mentioned earlier. For some of those features, they have to alter some code outside the core which is not style files.
However, the way they do it is that they alter things that are probably already stored on your phone and then just trick the official WhatsApp server which manages the sending of messages and files. For example, things like the number of images that can be sent are probably controlled on your phone and not the server of the app in order to let the server focus on important tasks like encryption.
So this means that the developers of GB WhatsApp can probably just change that rule which is stored on your phone’s storage that says you can only send 30 images to 90 images and the official server’s of WhatsApp wouldn’t know what happened as that information is not sent there. So we kind of understand how it might be working, let’s get into whether it is safe or not.
So is GB WhatsApp safe to use?
The answer to that question is a solid maybe. The fact that users of the app are not getting banned means that the app is not violating the major values of the official WhatsApp so WhatsApp just lets them keep using it. However, just because people are getting banned doesn’t directly mean that it is safe or given a thumbs up from WhatsApp.
Any modded app is potentially not safe. In most cases, things that are nice to use and that come free often have a hidden cost to them. In this case, you and I probably don’t know what other code the developer of GB WhatsApp has placed in the app. For example, they might have code to spy on you and they can do that because you’ve given their app permissions to access your microphone, contacts, and storage with pictures etc.
Of course, the official WhatsApp could just be doing the same but because they are a company, they are held to a higher degree of accountability in regards to what they do. And given how WhatsApp has built a brand around protecting its user’s privacy, they cannot just do that without consequences.
There is a real risk that it’s not safe
Another thing of concern is that the app isn’t directly available from the Google Play Store. This might mean that they just don’t want it to be taken down due to Google seeing that it’s trying to fake as the official WhatsApp. Or it might mean that they know that their app won’t pass the security checks of Google Play Protect so they don’t put it because it might indeed have malicious code that spies on you.
Whether they are spying on you if you use GB WhatsApp, you probably won’t know. So use it knowing that there is a risk that they might be doing that. Let us know if you use it and whether you think it is safe? What exactly about GB WhatsApp do you like the most that have caused you to move away from the official WhatsApp?