WhatsApp revealed that a specially-crafted malicious MP4 file may put users vulnerable to malware attacks. However, the company also clarified that the bug does not affect any user data. The vulnerability allows hackers to trigger a remote code execution (RCE) and denial of service (DoS) cyberattack. This WhatsApp bug has affected both Android and iOS devices. Also Read - Indian Army officers asked to avoid WhatsApp and Facebook; here’s why
WhatsApp bug vulnerability detailed
Hackers can use the vulnerability to deploy the malware on the user’s device. They can steal sensitive files and snoop on them — the way an Israeli software Pegasus developed by cyber intelligence company NSO Group did by exploiting the video calling system. It successfully snooped on 1,400 selected users globally and in India, including human rights activists and journalists. Also Read - WhatsApp bug via MP4 file triggers snooping concerns; update the app right away
The vulnerability is classified as “critical” severity that affected an unknown code block of the component MP4 File Handler in WhatsApp. “WhatsApp is constantly working to improve the security of our service. We make public, reports on potential issues we have fixed consistent with industry-best practices. In this instance, there is no reason to believe users were impacted,” a company spokesperson said in a statement shared with IANS. Also Read - New WhatsApp features spotted; include new icons, multi-platform system registration, and more
Facebook issues an advisory to update the app
Facebook had earlier issued an advisory, saying “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 Pegasus-NSO Group issue snowballed into a political one, with the Indian government directing WhatsApp to submit a reply over the matter. The government also denied either purchasing or planning to purchase the infamous software in question. The RCE vulnerability may allow hackers to perform the attack remotely without any sort of authentication.
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.
With inputs from IANS.