Like many popular messaging apps, WhatsApp employs a widely used technology known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows users to make and receive phone calls over the internet instead of through a standard telephone line.
The company is yet to determine exactly who was the main target for these attacks and how many people were affected but does believe it was a very targeted attack at a specific group. In case you are a WhatsApp Business user on Android, make sure you are not using a version that is older than v2.19.44.
"The DPC understands that the vulnerability may have enabled a malicious actor to install unauthorised software and gain access to personal data on devices which have WhatsApp installed", the regulator said in a statement.
The spyware on WhatsApp was reportedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group. If you've received any such call, then you could possibly be a victim.
NSO has not commented on any specific attacks, but following the WhatsApp breach it said it would investigate any "credible allegations of misuse" of its technology which "is exclusively operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies".
Facebook has confirmed that they have fixed the issue and have implemented server-side changes. A WhatsApp spokesperson said, "WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits created to compromise information stored on mobile devices".
WhatsApp said its advice to all users to update came "out of an abundance of caution" and a recommendation by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto that it notified about the vulnerability before the announcement. The patched version is now available on PlayStore, AppStore, Microsoft app store, and the Samsung's Galaxy app store.
Failing that, users can also simply uninstall the application.
Encryption remains an important feature by establishing a secure "tunnel" between two parties that verifies their identities, Lueck noted. The messages and data sent using an end-to-end secure channel make it hard for hackers to decrypt.
Updating phone's operating system is as critical to protecting yourself as having your lasts applications version. "And once (the attacker) is in, they own the device, they can do anything". The app stated on Tuesday that a security breach on its messaging app showed some weird signs.
Cybersecurity is a never-ending war between cybercriminals and InfoSec experts.
"We also ask individuals to contact the department on 992 if they find their devices had been hacked, to learn about the necessary steps to take", the statement added. This, therefore, makes numerous service's 1.5bn end-users doubt the uncomplicated as also protected messaging application's safety.
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