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WhatsApp Bug Left Users Exposed to Hacking When Answering Video Call

12 October, 2018, 22:01 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19bn

If your organisation has started to use Facebook' WhatsApp messenger as a collaboration tool, prepare for updates: the service said on Wednesday it has fixed the latest bug on its platform that allowed hackers to take over users' applications when they answered an incoming video call.

The bug, which affected Whatsapp applications on both Apple and Android smartphones, was discovered at the end of August by Natalie Silvanovich, a security researcher with Google's Project Zero security research team. In the report, it is said that there is a heap of corruption which has occurred in WhatsApp mobile application that can receive with a malformed RTP packet. Only the mobile users, both iOS and Android had the bug. The bug affects only the Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp because they use the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for video calling.

The blog post of the bug report also notes that the issue was fixed via an update on September 28 on Android, while the iOS update was issued on October 3. Web users were not affected due to that latest WhatsApp bug. The Company has fixed the this critical severity bug and the details are now available in the public domain. But, to be on safer side, WhatsApp users are advised to exercise caution while receiving video calls from strangers. In addition, a spokesperson for WhatsApp said that there aren't any reports to showcase that hackers actually used this exploit in "the wild" and that the only ones who exploited it are security researchers who were looking for a way to fix it. The flaw indicated that the it left WhatsApp users a potential target by hackers during video calls through the app. One of many of such plans according to Acton, was to bridge Facebook and WhatsApp accounts of 128-but string which denotes a user's phone number.


The messaging app, which is owned by Facebook, said it's found no evidence that a hacker ever exploited the bug to attack someone over a voice call.

Earlier this month, Israeli cyber-security agency sent out a nation-wide security alert about a new method of hacking WhatsApp.

However, Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at Comparitech, told IT Pro that he was sceptical of the claim that this attack could allow a hacker to remotely take over the victim's device and access their conversations.

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