Any smartphone user by now must have experienced their fare share of security flaws and hacks while using apps in today’s world and on that note, WhatsApp recently uncovered a security flaw which allowed hackers to install and use spyware software on phones.
WhatsApp revealed the news to Euronews recently confirming the security flaw that had been discovered and also stated that it identified and fixed the issue which was targeted to some users.
For a while now, some users have had their doubts about the security of WhatsApp and with the recent leak, this confirms their suspicions and could cause some problems for the chat giant.
An update was rolled out Friday to fix the problem and all the users are expected to upgrade to the new version immediately or stand a high risk from being affected by the security flaw. The app, which is owned by Facebook is estimated to be having about 1.5 billion users.
According to Euronews, the flaw allowed attackers to install commercial Israeli surveillance spyware on phones through the messaging app’s phone call function. The attack was also deemed as, “highly selective in nature and would be available to only advanced and highly motivated actors”.
The “advanced actor” in this case used code developed by Israeli company NSO Group, a spyware manufacturer known to sell surveillance software to countries such as Saudi Arabia according to the Finical Times.
By calling a targeted user through the app, hackers could install the Israeli software onto both iPhones and Androids even if the user did not answer the call, the FT report said.
The spyware company’s flagship spyware program “Pegasus” can take control of a phone camera and microphone, track movement and record calls.
In order to protect yourself from such an attack, you should upgrade your WhatsApp to the latest version immediately through your respective app store. The update offers a security fix.
The various app versions affected by this flaw include:
- WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134
- WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44
- WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51
- WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51
- WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348
- WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.