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For work I have to use WhatsApp. I agree with EFFs concerns about WhatsApp and personal data (harvesting it and shoveling it into Facebook), and perhaps even its security.

I thought it would be possible to run WhatsApp on my PC in a sandboxed environment. I created a bootable USB with Remix OS because getting WhatsApp to work anonymously on that seems fairly easy. But Remix was so slow I can’t consider that viable.

I am looking for a lightweight solution. (I am running Lubuntu.) But if there is none, then I can figure out how to work with a more powerful machine. What do you suggest?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Also - seriously, Be Nice! Final warning!
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 19, 2018 at 15:51

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You don't need to go that much. Just install any Android emulator on your computer, install WhatsApp on the emulator, and start WhatsApp. When it asks your number, you can give your own number, get the authentication code via SMS and input it on WhatsApp inside the emulator.

The emulator is a VM, so it's a sandbox. If the primary concern is WhatsApp sending private data from the phone to Facebook, the emulator will have no private data. Just install only WhatsApp and nothing else, so there's little to no data to be leaked.

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Android x86 might be a better alternative to Remix OS as it seems to be discontinued.

You could either boot it directly from a stick or use a virtual runtime like Virtual Box or qemu.

But you have to expect negative repercussions on performance when using a virtual machine.

Apart from that, there are "ready-to-use" Android emulators available. Some of them are paid, so I'm not mentioning the names, but you can find them easily by means of googling. One of the free options would be the one included in the Android SDK.

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