Vulnerability in the popular messaging service allows hackers to install spyware capable of trawling through calls, texts and other data; but don’t worry, help is at hand
WhatsApp is known for its end-to-end encryption, but the recent news about malware being found in the popular messaging platform has put a big question mark on its security.
Whatsapp officially urged its 1.5 billion users to update the app immediately on their phones. Updated versions of WhatsApp have already been released; so if you haven’t updated the app recently, it is advisable to do it immediately.
According to the Financial Times, the malware was developed by Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group. NSO Group is an Israeli spy firm who injected malware onto targeted phones in order to steal data by simply placing a phone call. According to experts, the malware installs itself if the user gets a WhatsApp call, even if they don’t pick up. Call records could also be deleted itself.
Who all needs to worry?
Apparently, any brand of phone with WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business installed are prone to the attack, including Apple’s iPhone (iOS), Android phones, Windows Phones and Tizen devices, according to reports.
Although the number of people affected by the hack is not yet confirmed, some high-profile users such as a UK-based human rights lawyer and an Amnesty International researcher are suspected to be spied on.
For you to be targeted, you will have to receive a WhatsApp voice call or dropped call from unknown sources. If you haven't done that, then there's no need to worry.
However, if you happen to work in sensitive sectors, then you should be particularly vigilant.