The most popular instant messaging application out there, WhatsApp is used by upwards of 1.5 billion people around the world on a near-daily basis. The app is especially popular in India, with just about everyone having a (smart)phone having it.
However, this popularity also makes WhatsApp a prime target for hackers, who just need a loophole to access the details of billions of users. One such loophole has been recently discovered.
Researchers from Check Point, a security company, have discovered a flaw in WhatsApp’s security protocols. They have warned that the vulnerability can be exploited by hackers to intercept messages in transit and alter their contents.
The security flaw is related to WhatsApp’s message encryption technology, which is the primary mechanism that’s used to secure all messages (text and multimedia) transmitted via WhatsApp.
On decrypting WhatsApp’s security protocols, Check Point researchers found out that hackers can modify the protocols’ encryption rules, allowing them to access WhatsApp communications in transit.
In simple terms, it means that the security flaw can allow hackers to alter someone’s reply in a group chat, as well as change the identity of a message’s sender when the ‘quote’ feature is used.
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Furthermore, the vulnerability can allow hackers to send public messages disguised as private messages. This way, when the targeted individual responds to a private message, the reply is visible to everyone in a group conversation.
Check Point has already intimated WhatsApp of the flaw, so it’s very much possible that the loophole will be plugged in some time. Nonetheless, it’s best if WhatsApp users exercise caution when using the platform, especially when it’s used to share confidential information.