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Trump’s Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner’s Whatsapp Habits Worry Cyber Experts

Kushner's online communication habits, which put to risk the access and open avenues for exploitation of confidential information by foreign governments and hackers, have raised concerns among cyber security experts

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The staff is allowed to use other methods of communication only when mailing is inconvenient. But they are not allowed to share classified information and take screen shots. VOA

Ignoring national security concerns, Jared Kushner, son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, has been using WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders and conduct government businesses, which has been worrying cyber experts in the US.

“A source close to the Saudi royal court told CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen said Kushner has used WhatsApp to communicate with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who allegedly ordered murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” CNN reported on Saturday.

Kushner’s online communication habits, which put to risk the access and open avenues for exploitation of confidential information by foreign governments and hackers, have raised concerns among cyber security experts, the report said.

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Kushner has used WhatsApp to communicate with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who allegedly ordered murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Pixabay

Recently Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, confirmed that Kushner has been using the private messaging app to communicate with foreign leaders. However, he did not testify whether Kushner shared any classified information via the app.

“Kushner on his personal phone is using a free commercial service that is connected to a company with huge security breaches. It’s a recipe for disaster,” the report quoted Daniel Schuman as saying, a former White House staffer who chairs the Congressional Data Coalition, a non-profit organisation, which aims to encourage smarter tech practices in Congress.

In 2017, the White House counsel’s Office directed staff to conduct all work-related electronic communications on their official government email accounts, which are monitored for threats.

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Kushner’s online communication habits, which put to risk the access and open avenues for exploitation of confidential information by foreign governments and hackers, have raised concerns among cyber security experts, the report said. Wikimedia

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The staff is allowed to use other methods of communication only when mailing is inconvenient. But they are not allowed to share classified information and take screen shots.

An administration official said Kushner was aware of rules and complies. However, Lowell did not respond to an question whether Kushner follow basic cybersecurity practices, like keeping his operating system up-to-date, the report added.  (IANS)

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Researchers Reveal Vulnerabilities that Allowed Hackers to Manipulate Images on WhatsApp and Telegram

WhatsApp saves files to external storage automatically, while Telegram does so when the "Save to Gallery" feature is enabled

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The security flaw, dubbed "Media File Jacking", affected WhatsApp for Android by default. Pixabay

If you thought instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption give you rock-solid security, think again. Researchers from cyber-security firm Symantec on Monday revealed vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to manipulate the images and audio files you receive on these platforms.

The security flaw, dubbed “Media File Jacking”, affected WhatsApp for Android by default, and Telegram for Android if certain features were enabled, Symantec researchers said in a blog post.

According to the researchers, WhatsApp saves files to external storage automatically, while Telegram does so when the “Save to Gallery” feature is enabled. However, neither apps have any system in place to protect users from a Media File Jacking attack, the researchers from Symantec’s Modern OS Security team explained.

Attackers could exploit this vulnerability to scam victims in various ways.

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If you thought instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption give you rock-solid security, think again. Pixabay

“If the security flaw is exploited, a malicious attacker could misuse and manipulate sensitive information such as personal photos and videos, corporate documents, invoices, and voice memos,” wrote Software Engineer Alon Gat and Yair Amit, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Modern OS Security, Symantec.

Giving example of image manipulation, the researchers said a seemingly innocent, but actually malicious, app downloaded by a user could manipulate personal photos in near-real time and without the victim knowing.

The app runs in the background and performs a “Media File Jacking attack” while the victim uses WhatsApp. It monitors for photos received through the app, identifies faces in photos, and replaces them with something else, such as other faces or objects.

“A WhatsApp user may send a family photo to one of their contacts, but what the recipient sees is actually a modified photo. While this attack may seem trivial and just a nuisance, it shows the feasibility of manipulating images on the fly,” said the blog post.

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Using the same vulnerability, the attackers could make payment manipulation, audio message spoofing or spread fake news.

“In one of the most damaging Media File Jacking attacks, a malicious actor can manipulate an invoice sent by a vendor to a customer, to trick the customer into making a payment to an illegitimate account,” Gat and Amit wrote.

“The Media File Jacking threat is especially concerning in light of the common perception that the new generation of IM (instant messaging) apps are immune to content manipulation and privacy risks, thanks to the utilisation of security mechanisms like end-to-end encryption,” they added.

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Researchers from cyber-security firm Symantec on Monday revealed vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to manipulate the images and audio files. Pixabay

Reports in May revealed that a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature allowed hackers to install spyware onto Android and iOS phones just by calling the target. The spyware was reportedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group.

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WhatsApp had said it identified and “promptly” fixed the vulnerability that could enable an attacker to insert and execute code on mobile devices. (IANS)