As mentioned above, many people use WhatsApp around the globe, making it a target for cybercriminals, many of which are around the WhatsApp Web. WhatsApp allows you to open a website or download a desktop app, scan a code with your phone on the app, and use WhatsApp on your computer.
Your phone’s app store— the iOS app store and Android’s Google Play store — is controlled more closely than the Internet as a whole. When searching on those shops for WhatsApp, it’s usually evident which app is the official one. This doesn’t hold true on the internet in general.
This has all been taken advantage of by criminals, hackers and scammers. As WhatsApp desktop applications, there have been cases of attackers passing off malicious software. If you’re unfortunate enough to download one of these, malware may be distributed or your computer may be compromised.
Even more so, spyware was installed on computers in some cases.
Others attempted a distinct strategy, creating websites for phishing to trick you into passing on private data. Some of these websites are masquerading as WhatsApp Web, requesting that you enter your phone number to connect to the service. They effectively use that number, however, to spam you or correlate with other internet leaked or hacked information.
To be on the safe side, using only applications and services from formal sources is the best way to remain safe. WhatsApp provides you with a web client, known as WhatsApp Web, to use on any desktop.