WhatsApp recommends that all users immediately update the application on their mobile phone to fix a critical security bug. The vulnerability, announced by the Financial Times newspaper on Monday (13) and confirmed by Facebook, allows the smartphone to be hacked by the virus known as Pegasus. According to a group of researchers, the malicious program is spyware capable of triggering camera and microphone, as well as accessing emails and files of the victim through a simple unanswered voice call in the app.
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WhatsApp released an update that prevents virus action in the application, and stated that only a select group of users (in the "tens") was hit by the vulnerability. The new versions are now available for download for over 1.5 billion users of Android, iPhone (iOS), Windows Phone and Tizen handsets. The business version WhatsApp Business has also been affected and has available fix.
WhatsApp update fixes critical security bug Photo: Marvin Costa / dnetc
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Pegasus spyware was developed by NSO, an Israeli company that provides government spy technology. It is estimated that 45 countries have already used company services. This, however, is the first time the spy program has been discovered infecting smartphones through WhatsApp.
The problem is mainly of concern because the attack does not require the victim to download the virus to the mobile phone. According to sources heard by the Financial Times, the user only needs to receive a voice call from the application to be infected does not even have to answer the call. The Financial Times also found that, according to a WhatsApp spokesman, the number of users hit by the vulnerability "is in the tens."
According to the NSO, the program was created to help governments fight crimes, but there have been cases of attacks directed at human rights defenders. Last Sunday (12), Citizen Lab announced an offensive against a human rights activist lawyer in the United Kingdom via WhatsApp. About 1.5 billion users of the app worldwide would be at risk.
In a press release, WhatsApp recommends that users update the application and install the latest available version, and "also keep the mobile phone operating system up to date to guard against exploits that may compromise the device content."
Open the Google Play app, go to the side menu, and touch the circle to check for updates. Then touch Update next to the app. Secure versions are at 2.19.134 and later (WhatsApp) or 2.19.44 and later (WhatsApp Business).
Update WhatsApp on Android Photo: Reproduo / Paulo Alves
On iOS, open the App Store and go to the Updates tab and drag the screen from top to bottom to check for new available versions. Tap Update next to WhatsApp. The fix is present in versions 2.19.51 and later (WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business).
Update WhatsApp on iPhone Photo: Playback / Marvin Costa
On Windows Phone, version 2.18.348 is the safest. On Tizen I need to have at least version 2.18.15 installed.
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How to update WhatsApp on iPhone