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2 Popular Messaging Apps Telegram and WhatsApp Vulnerable to Hackers

According to Check Point Software Technologies, popular messaging apps Telegram and WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, were vulnerable to hackers

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Whatsapp rolls out two new updates. VOA

Silicon Valley, March 19, 2017: Those encrypted messaging apps you may have been using to avoid prying eyes had a major flaw that could have allowed access to hackers, according to a cybersecurity firm.

According to Check Point Software Technologies, both Telegram and WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, were vulnerable.

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The company said it withheld the information until the security holes were patched, saying “hundreds of millions” of users could have been compromised.

The vulnerability involved infecting digital images with malicious code that would have been activated upon clicking the pic. That, according to Check Point, could have made accounts susceptible to hijacking.

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“This new vulnerability put hundreds of millions of WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web users at risk of complete account take over,” Check Point head of product vulnerability Oded Vanunu said in a news release. “By simply sending an innocent looking photo, an attacker could gain control over the account, access message history, all photos that were ever shared, and send messages on behalf of the user.”

Both apps tout so-called end-to-end encryption to ensure privacy, but according to Check Point, that made it hard to spot malicious code.

Patching the vulnerability involved blocking the code before the messages were encrypted.

WhatsApp claims to have more than one billion users, while Telegram has more than 100 million. (VOA)

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AI Couldn’t Catch NZ Attack Video Streaming: Facebook

Facebook said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facing flak for failure to block the live broadcast of the New Zealand terrorist attack last week, Facebook on Thursday said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools were not “perfect” to detect the horrific video.

Vowing to improve its technology, the social networking giant, however, ruled out adding a time delay to Facebook Live, similar to the broadcast delay sometimes used by TV stations.

“There are millions of Live broadcasts daily, which means a delay would not help address the problem due to the sheer number of videos,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said in a statement.

“More importantly, given the importance of user reports, adding a delay would only further slow down videos getting reported, reviewed and first responders being alerted to provide help on the ground,” Rosen added.

Strapped with a GoPro camera to his head, the gunman broadcast graphic footage of the New Zealand shooting via Facebook Live for 17 minutes, which was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

Fifty people were killed and dozens injured in the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid in Christchurch on March 15 after 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened indiscriminate firings.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The circulation of the video on social media platforms attracted widespread criticism from different quarters.

In a letter to CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the technology companies to brief the US Congress on March 27 regarding their response to dissemination of the video on their platforms.

Thompson also warned the technology companies that unless they do better in removing violent content, the Congress could consider policies to bar such content on social media.

Also Read- Finland Probing Nokia Phones Sending Data to China

Facebook on Thursday said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video.

“AI has made massive progress over the years and in many areas, which has enabled us to proactively detect the vast majority of the content we remove. But it’s not perfect.

“However, this particular video did not trigger our automatic detection systems,” Rosen said, referring to the New Zealand attack video. (IANS)