WhatsApp has released a warning to users of the app to install an update after a security flaw was identified. Developers believe hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on people’s devices by exploiting a vulnerability in the service. The Facebook-owned service said only a “select number of users” were targeted. Among them were “journalists, lawyers, activists and human rights defenders”, according to Ahmed Zidan from the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists.
How do you update WhatsApp on Android?
– Open the Google Play store app (often listed as the Play store)
– Tap the menu icon (three horizontal lines) on the top left of the screen
– Tap My Apps & Games and find WhatsApp
– Tap update
– If the app has already been updated it will appear on the list with an ‘open’ prompt
– The current Android version of the app is 2.19.134
How do you update WhatsApp on iPhone?
– Open the App Store
– Tap Updates at the bottom of the screen
– Find WhatsApp and press update
– If it has already been updated it will appear with an ‘open’ prompt
– The latest WhatsApp version on iOS is 2.19.51
WhatsApp is still early on in investigations to estimate exactly how many phones were targeted by the hack.
Those affected by the attack may have gotten a voice call from an unknown number which quickly disappeared from call logs.
WhatsApp published an advisory to security specialists, warning the flaw was: “A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP [voice over internet protocol] stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of SRTCP [secure real-time transport protocol] packets sent to a target phone number.”
Some reports have blamed NSO, an Israeli cybersecurity group and intelligence company.
However, NSO disputed the claims, saying: “Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
“NSO would not, or could not, use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation, including this individual (the UK lawyer).”
WhatsApp has neither confirmed nor denied reports NSO is responsible.
The company said the incident bore the markings of a private organisation which works with governments to deliver spyware.