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WhatsApp bug via MP4 file triggers snooping concerns; update the app right away

The latest WhatsApp bug which has been discovered could allow hackers to infect your phone using an MP4 video file. Here is how to be safe.

  • Updated: November 18, 2019 1:18 PM IST
WhatsApp

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If someone has sent you an MP4 file on WhatsApp, please refrain from downloading it. A newly-discovered WhatsApp bug could allow hackers to use critical vulnerability in the Facebook-owned app, and execute a snooping attack. According to a report, the file can affect both Android and iOS devices. Here is all we know so far.

WhatsApp bug detailed

The specially crafted MP4 file triggers the remote code execution (RCE) and denial of service (DoS) cyberattack. “The vulnerability is classified as ‘Critical’ severity. It affected an unknown code block of the component MP4 File Handler in WhatsApp,” gbhackers reported.

Facebook said, “A stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to a WhatsApp user. “The issue was present in parsing the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file and could result in a DoS or RCE.”

The news comes on the heels an Israeli software Pegasus by cyber intelligence company NSO Group that exploited its video calling system to snoop on 1,400 users globally. In India, the list included human rights activists and journalists. The issue snowballed into a political one and the Indian government denied either purchasing or planning to purchase the infamous software in question.

“We agree with the government of India’s strong statement about the need to safeguard the privacy of all Indian citizens. That is why we’ve taken this strong action to hold cyber attackers accountable and why WhatsApp is so committed to the protection of all user messages through the product we provide,” a WhatsApp spokesperson had said in a statement.

More information about WhatsApp bug vulnerability

The new vulnerability is found in Android versions prior to 2.19.274 and iOS versions prior to 2.19.100. Even Enterprise Client versions prior to 2.25.3; Business for Android versions prior to 2.19.104; and Business for iOS versions prior to 2.19.100 have been affected. That’s not all, the Windows Phone versions before and including 2.18.368 could also be attacked by hackers.

Hackers can use the WhatsApp vulnerability to deploy the malware on the user’s device. It is capable of stealing sensitive files and can also be used for surveillance purpose.”The RCE vulnerability allows hackers to perform the attack remotely without any sort of authentication,” claimed the report.

With inputs from IANS.

  • Published Date: November 18, 2019 10:38 AM IST
  • Updated Date: November 18, 2019 1:18 PM IST