WhatsApp Discovers Major Security Loophole

WhatsApp Discovers Major Security Loophole

Here's what you need to know about WhatsApp's major security flaw.

The team at WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging platform which has surpassed 1.5 billion users around the world, says a major security loophole was exploited by an Israeli-based group that has a history of working with governments to steal data and spy on citizens.

An article by TechCrunch explained the vulnerability as a, "bug in the audio call feature of the app to allow the caller to enable the installation of spyware on the device being called, whether the call was answered or not."

There's no word yet on how many users were targeted by the attack, but WhatsApp says they believe it is a relatively small group. A fix for the problem was rolled out within 10 days of its discovery. The messaging app is urging all users to update to the latest version of the app to eliminate any further concern.

Craig Young, computer security researcher for Tripwire's VERT (Vulnerability and Exposure Research Team), said that an attack like this should have been somewhat expected.

"A compromised smart phone is a veritable treasure trove for spies looking to infiltrate a target," Young said. "Consider that WhatsApp surpassed 1.5 billion installs over a year ago, it should come as no surprise to anyone that sophisticated adversaries like NSO group are investing resources to develop exploits for it."

Attacks like these have played out in similar messaging services like Apple's iMessage and Google Hangouts, according to Young. He offered up a few tips for organizations hoping to avoid an attack like WhatsApp suffered.

“Organizations concerned about such targeted attacks should be taking extra precautions to limit what data including emails, messages, and account credentials are stored on devices," Young said. "In some cases, it makes sense to have multiple devices for multiple purposes and to restrict the ability to bring phones to sensitive meetings or locations.”

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • The Power of a Layered Approach to Safety

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown. Read Now

  • How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

    Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.” Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Hanwha QNO-7012R

    Hanwha QNO-7012R

    The Q Series cameras are equipped with an Open Platform chipset for easy and seamless integration with third-party systems and solutions, and analog video output (CVBS) support for easy camera positioning during installation. A suite of on-board intelligent video analytics covers tampering, directional/virtual line detection, defocus detection, enter/exit, and motion detection. 3

  • 4K Video Decoder

    3xLOGIC’s VH-DECODER-4K is perfect for use in organizations of all sizes in diverse vertical sectors such as retail, leisure and hospitality, education and commercial premises. 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3