Wednesday, 15 May 2019

CyberSafe Alert 2019 Edition 4

WhatsApp Hacked!? Here's What To Do About It

Welcome to the fourth CyberSafe alert edition of 2019. Usually on the CyberSafe alert we focus on issues that could impact you at any time. Today’s alert concerns the the recent attack on WhatsApp and what to do about it if you have WhatsApp installed.

If you’ve read the CyberSafe book you’ll know that we list WhatsApp as being one of those messaging tools to look at because of its end to end encryption. WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, and because of this, that makes it a target for hackers targeting its massive user base.

The news filtering in from WhatsApp this week is that hackers were able to install surveillance software on not just phones, but on any other devices you may have installed WhatsApp on. This surveillance software allows hackers to view messages you have sent or received on WhatsApp.

If you’re a Cybersafe reader, you’re pretty careful about your cyber security, so how could you have been caught out right? Well, it turns out there wasn’t a lot you could do about it. The hack worked by using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device.

Even if the call was not picked up, the surveillance software could be installed. Just to cover their tracks, the call would often disappear from the device's call log.

Here at the CyberSafe alert, we don’t just give you the news, we also give you solutions to tackle the issues we raise, and this solution is simple. WhatsApp have issued a fix to this problem, but the next bit depends on you. Make sure you update your current version of WhatsApp to the latest version. Yes, stop reading, and DO THIS NOW!

Oh, and one more thing. While the update fixes the flaw that let this attack take place, WhatsApp has not said whether the update removes any spyware that has already infected a compromised device. So, in addition we suggest you also make sure your anti-virus software is up to date, and run a scan for any potential threats. Of course we’re sure you’re already doing this regularly, right? If you’re running WhatsApp on iOS you can feel reasonably secure that any infection is limited to the WhatApp app because of the way apps operate in iOS.

Following the advice inCyberSafe should go a long way to keeping you safe online. As we like to say at the CyberSafe alert - Don’t Be Scared; Be Prepared

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the content provided in this post is accurate and helpful for our readers. However, this is not an exhaustive treatment of the subjects. No liability is assumed for losses or damages due to the information provided. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results.

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