Facebook-owned WhatsApp Messenger is facing a crucial vulnerability and is being exploited to inject commercial spyware onto Android and iOS phones by simply making a voice call to the target. This news has been first reported by The Financial Times.
According to FT, this spyware has been developed by Israel’s secretive NSO group which can be installed in the target’s phone by simply making a voice call to the target. Furthermore, WhatsApp research team itself confirmed that this spyware can be easily installed in the phone even if the target didn’t receive the call making it highly vulnerable.
In any case, if this spyware gets installed on the phone, it can turn on a phone’s camera and mic, scan emails and messages, and collect the user’s location data. Looking over to this serious issue, WhatsApp is urging its 1.5 billion global users to update the app immediately to close the security hole.
“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 designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
According to researchers at Citizens Lab, this spyware was first discovered in early May when a UK-based human rights lawyer was attacked by NSO’s flagship Pegasus program. However, this attack was blocked by WhatsApp but the company itself don’t have an estimation of affected users from this vulnerability. And so, the company has made an announcement publicly to its users to update the WhatsApp app to protect themselves from this attack.
“This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” WhatsApp said in a statement provided to The Financial Times. “We have briefed a number of human rights organizations to share the information we can, and to work with them to notify civil society.”
So overall, it is advised to all the readers to instantly update their WhatsApp to protect your phone from data breaching. As soon as some more information comes on this issue, TechnoCodex will update you instantly.
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