WhatsApp urges users to upgrade app after discovering ‘targeted surveillance’ attack
New Delhi: Facebook’s WhatsApp, on Monday, urged users to upgrade to the latest version of its popular messaging app as an added precaution after reporting that users might be vulnerable to having malicious spyware installed on phones without their knowledge.
According to a Financial Times report, the surveillance software, a vulnerability in WhatsApp allowed attackers to inject spyware on phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone-call function, involved was developed by Israeli firm NSO Group.
WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging tools and used by 1.5 billion people monthly, promotes itself as a “secure” communications app because messages are end-to-end encrypted on its platform.
A spokesman, not authorized to be quoted by name, 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 designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices.”
He added, “We are constantly working alongside industry partners to provide the latest security enhancements to help protect our users.”
WhatsApp informed its lead regulator in the European Union, Ireland's Data Protection Commission, of a “serious security vulnerability” on its platform.
In response, the DPC said, “The DPC understands that the vulnerability may have enabled a malicious actor to install unauthorized software and gain access to personal data on devices which have WhatsApp installed,” the regulator said in a statement. WhatsApp are still investigating as to whether any WhatsApp EU user data has been affected as a result of this incident.”
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