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WhatsApp Discovers Spyware Attack Via Voice Calling: Report

According to WhatsApp, it suspects a relatively small number of users were targeted

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FILE - The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

WhatsApp has urged its 1.5 billion users to upgrade the app after the Facebook-owned platform discovered a vulnerability that allowed spyware to be installed on users’ phones via the app’s phone call function.

The spyware was allegedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group, reports the Financial Times.

The vulnerability leveraged a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature, facilitating the installation of spyware on the device being called whether the call was answered or not.

WhatsApp said it has fixed the vulnerability that was discovered last month.

“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices, the company said in a statement.

The Israel-based NSO Group works for the government, looking to infect targets of investigations and gain access to various aspects of their devices.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” the WhatsApp statement read, without mentioning the NSO Group.

NSO Group told the Financial Times: “Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies”.

“NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization,” the company added.

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NSO limits sales of its spyware called Pegasus to state intelligence agencies and others. The software has the ability to collect intimate data from a target device.

According to WhatsApp, it suspects a relatively small number of users were targeted.

“This is, as you can imagine, an extremely severe security hole, and it is difficult to fix the window during which it was open, or how many people were affected by it,” reports TechCrunch. (IANS)

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WhatsApp Beta Not Allowing Users to Save Profile Pictures

Details about the public roll-out of the feature remain unknown as of now

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whatsapp business app
FILE - The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

In its latest Android beta update, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp is not allowing users to save profile pictures of individuals on their devices, the media reported.

“WhatsApp has removed the possibility to save profile pictures in latest Android beta updates and WhatsApp Business beta for iOS 2.19.60.5,” web portal WABetaInfo tweeted on Wednesday.

The feature was first spotted by an India-based beta tester of the app who tweeted to WABetaInfo inquiring about the update.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“In the latest beta version 2.19.319, the option to save profile pictures is no longer there. It is only there for groups. Please confirm if this is a bug or it is going to remain that way? (Android 9)” Swarup Mondal tweeted.

On reading into the beta feature, WABetaInfo confirmed that WhatsApp was, in fact, still allowing people to save group icons.

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Details about the public roll-out of the feature remain unknown as of now.

Earlier in April, the instant messaging app was testing an ‘Authentication’ feature which would bar users from taking screenshots of their private conversations. (IANS)