WhatsApp is urging all users to upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible to prevent your personal information from being compromised. A vulnerability was found in the instant messaging app where spyware can be injected with a simple WhatsApp call.
It was reported that the spyware was developed by Israel’s secretive NSO Group and it can be installed without a trace even if the receiver did not accept the voice call. The vulnerability was discovered early this month when a human rights lawyer was attacked by NSO’s flagship Pegasus program. This can turn on a phone’s microphone and camera, and it can also gain access to your emails, messages and your location data.
If you haven’t updated your WhatsApp app yet, please do it now. According to Facebook’s security advisory, this vulnerability affects WhatsApp on Android with versions before v2.19.134, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51 and WhatsApp Business for iOS before v2.19.51. This also affects Windows Phone and Tizen users that are running Android versions prior to v2.18.348 and v.2.18.15 respectively.
In a statement to the Financial Times, WhatsApp said that “This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems. We have briefed a number of human rights organizations to share the information we can, and to work with them to notify civil society. “
It was reported that NSO sells Pegasus to governments and law enforcement to fight terrorism and crime. According to Citizen Labs, the spyware was detected in 45 countries.