WhatsApp admits spyware attack through a security breach giving access to microphone, camera etc.

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It is no old news now that WhatsApp’s security had been compromised this past Monday. So, no matter where you are, it is absolutely essential for you to update the version of WhatsApp on your phone. Earlier in May, Facebook uncovered a flaw which would make users vulnerable to the injecting of commercial grade spyware on to their phones by means of a WhatsApp call. What makes this even scarier is the fact that the user needn’t have done anything to be vulnerable to this. All this entailed was placing a call to the user’s phone, and without the need of interacting or answering the call, they could be the victim.

It is believed that the software used for this means was Pegasus from NSO Group, an Israel based company. As threatening as it sounds, once installed, Pegasus has control over the functioning of your phone’s microphone or camera, as well as unlimited access to your personal information including location, messages and photos, etc. It can even erase evidence of its existence through the call log.

It took Facebook less than 10 days to fix this exploit, with the help of a server-side fix. Additionally, an update was released to secure you against further attack. It could affect users on all platforms, and the only way is to update the app immediately if you have any of the following versions:

  • WhatsApp for Android v2.19.134
  • WhatsApp Business for Android v2.19.44
  • WhatsApp for iOS v2.19.51
  • WhatsApp Business for iOS v2.19.51
  • WhatsApp for Windows Phone v2.18.348
  • WhatsApp for Tizen v2.18.15

Although Facebook has not explicitly accused this NSO Group, it is the most likely culprit. It had been infamously known for targeting reports or dissidents, or even specific targets. NSO Group tried to clear off this allegation when meeting with The Financial Times, saying that it does not get mixed up with actual applications of its software.Thus, this is reason enough to know the importance behind keeping your phone and the applications completely up to date to avoid being so vulnerable.