Update Your WhatsApp As There’s a Bug (Found in S’pore!) That Allows Hackers to Take Over Your Phone

Image: Rahul Ramachandram / Shutterstock.com

WhatsApp is marketed as an app that’s very secured, but the app is a pretty apt representation of expectation vs reality.

From phone ringing hacks to fake messages, it’s seen its fair share of security problems. Doesn’t help that Facebook is its parent company.

In the latest episode of What’s the App?!, a Singapore-based security researcher, Awakened, published a finding about a WhatsApp bug early this month.

And it’s not just a bug that makes your WhatsApp send random messages to your crush; it’s a bug that has the potential for hackers to hack into your phone merely by sending you a gif, which you’d most probably tap on.

Once you tap on it, a malicious app could be downloaded into your Android phone, and your phone is officially hacked.

The technical side of it is pretty chim, but let’s just say that the so-called “gif” isn’t exactly an innocent gif but something that’ll make your phone go haywire.

Yeah, not like this gif.

Image: funnyjunk

First published on 2 October 2019, Awakened’s tests showed that it affects until WhatsApp version 2.19.230, and is more vulnerable on Android 8.1 and 9. For older Android versions, the app would just crash before any damage is done (i.e. the bug created…another bug).

Fix Ready

In version 2.19.244, the vulnerability is fixed, so do update your WhatsApp if you’re someone who doesn’t like to update your software (which is a very bad habit).

The current version is now 2.19.283.

In fact, this vulnerability was also found in Facebook two months back, but they fixed it soon after. Guess Facebook and WhatsApp aren’t really on talking terms #justsaying

In response, WhatsApp has this to say: “We have no reason to believe this affected any users, though of course we are always working to provide the latest security features to our users.”

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Moral of the story?

Singapore has goody cyber security experts.

And one should always update their apps.