A flaw in WhatsApp that allowed the application to be blocked for all members of a group was announced this Tuesday (17th). The vulnerability, detected by the cyber security team Checkpoint, affects Android and iPhone (iOS) phones and consists of changing the phone number of one of the chat participants to trigger the constant freezing of the app on the cell phone of the rest of the members. The only solution would be to delete the group and, consequently, lose all messages shared on it.
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The bug was reported by the Checkpoint WhatsApp team in August through the app's rewards program. In September, the messenger released the update with bug fix in version 2.19.58 for all iPhone and Android users (learn how to update WhatsApp).
WhatsApp fixes flaw that could lock messenger on cell phones Photo: Rubens Achilles / dnetc
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The vulnerability was discovered by the Checkpoint team when accessing the app's messaging protocol to change the sender parameter, which is examined by WhatsApp to identify users who sent a particular message in the collective conversation. The developers then added special characters to the parameter of the phone number of one of the members of the group.
Thus, when this user sends a message in the chat, the WhatsApp application hangs in a loop on the cell phone of all other participants in the conversation. The app remains frozen even after closing and reopening the messenger.
In addition, it is not possible to re-access the group in which the vulnerability occurred. Therefore, to prevent the application from continuing to freeze, the solution would be to delete the chat in question that suffered the failure. This would result in the loss of all messages and media shared in the conversation.
The bug was fixed by WhatsApp from update number 2.19.58 for iPhone and Android. It is important to keep applications up to date to avoid security breaches like this. In fact, researchers at Checkpoint discovered in August a vulnerability that allowed them to edit messages sent by WhatsApp.
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How to update WhatsApp on iPhone