A security breach in WhatsApp released on Wednesday (2) could endanger users' shared messages and files. According to a researcher known by the nickname Awakened, hackers can gain access to the chat content as long as they convince victims to share a malicious GIF. The bug hits devices running Android 8 (O) and 9 (P), which account for 38.7% of system users. Earlier and newer versions 10, as well as the iPhone (iOS), would be safe from the problem.
In note sent to the portal The Next Web, WhatsApp claims that the vulnerability was already known to its engineers "in the past month". According to the company owned by Facebook, there is no hint of anyone who has been affected. This bug has been fixed in the latest messenger update from the Google Play store.
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WhatsApp crash could have endangered millions of Android users Photo: Anna Kellen Bull / dnetc
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The problem has to do with a vulnerability in the WhatsApp image preview system when encountering a hacker modified GIF file. According to the expert who discovered the loophole, the potential victim must send the compromised file to cause a system bug and make way for the hacking. From this, the attacker could execute commands remotely to steal messages, videos, images and other contents shared in the messenger.
WhatsApp claims that the characteristics of the bug lead us to believe that no one has been affected. According to the company, the likelihood of casualties decreases because the user cannot be infected when receiving the malicious file, but when sending. Therefore, to materialize, the coup would also have to involve some social engineering trick to encourage the sharing of material.
Although there is no record of affected people, it is important that all WhatsApp users who use Android 8 or 9 mobile phone update the application immediately. The solution to the bug is present as of version 2.19.244.
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