Did You Know Popular Messaging App WhatsApp was Recently Hacked by a Spyware?
Is WhatsApp your favorite messaging mobile application? You probably use it daily to chat with your friends and family. To say that you’re not alone would be an understatement, because WhatsApp is used by 1.5 billion people around the world, out of which 1 billion people use the app everyday on an active basis. If you are one of the billion users of WhatsApp, then you should on alert about the recent spyware attack on this favorite mobile app of yours. WhatsApp recently discovered that its platform has been at the receiving end of a malicious spyware attack. Taking advantage of an existing vulnerability in the platform, the spyware breaching this widely loved messaging app goes by the name Pegasus.
Pegasus managed to find a zero-day vulnerability in the platform and used that to hack into the mobile devices of people using the app. Zero-day vulnerability is a type of security loophole for which there is no security patch provided by the the app company yet. Such a security vulnerability is detected and exploited by cybercriminals to launch a malware attack before the company discovers, addresses, and patches the vulnerability. The attack thus launched is known as a zero-day attack.
Am I At Risk Here?
It doesn’t matter which operating system you’re running WhatsApp on, iOS, Android, or Windows, the app is vulnerable to the spyware attack on practically all operating systems. Once the spyware successfully enters your phone, it can access everything on your phone, that includes your messages, contacts, location data, photos, browser history, emails, etc. The spyware can also turn on the camera and microphone of your device. Basically, all your confidential information can be accessed by this spyware if it has managed to successfully hack your phone.
It doesn’t take much for the spyware to infect a device. It can hack into a phone by simply giving a missed call to the device through the WhatsApp voice call feature. So, regardless of whether you answer that suspicious WhatsApp call or ignore it, just a missed call is enough for the spyware to get into your phone.
It should be noted that this WhatsApp spyware attack is quite targeted at this stage, meaning that it has been used to target high-profile users such as attorneys, human rights activists, and journalists, who are likely to possess highly sensitive information. At least for now, the spyware isn’t going after the common public. As an average WhatsApp user, you may not have much to worry about, yet. That being said, it’s still crucial that you update WhatsApp to the latest version. You don’t want to wait for the spyware to start spreading rampantly among all types of users.
Moreover, since the knowledge of the spyware is now out in the open, it’s more important than ever for you to secure your phones with the WhatsApp update. Other hackers may try to exploit this publicly known vulnerability, by either trying to replicate the way the Pegasus spyware works or using their own creativity to come up with something else, and launch a malware attack of their own with the general public as the targets. Why risk waiting till this scenario comes true, when there is something that you can do right away to safeguard yourself against any malware attacks capitalizing on the security vulnerability in question.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
There is now a security patch available for this security vulnerability, which can be installed by upgrading to the latest version of the app. If you haven’t already, do update WhatsApp on your mobile devices immediately to be protected from this spyware attack in the future. In addition to updating WhatsApp, also update the operating system of your mobile device for further protection.
What Has WhatsApp Spyware Attack Taught Us?
No mobile app, not even the one that’s used by a billion users across the world, is entirely safe from hacking. A spyware like Pegasus could get into your phone and you wouldn’t even know that you have been hacked. This recent WhatsApp spyware scare brings into focus a simple yet important step in ensuring mobile security. Installing security updates on time! Even though the hackers were able to get to the security vulnerability and manipulate it before the company had a fix ready, the company did work on rolling out an update containing the security patch as soon as possible when the vulnerability came into picture. Now, the next step to be taken is for you to install the latest rolled out update to download the security patch and protect your device from the spyware. The more you delay installing the latest WhatsApp update, the more you endanger your device.
If you are interested in learning more about mobile malware attacks, read this next: https://www.ctgmanagedit.com/about-mobile-malware-attacks/