Monday December 9, 2019
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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 to Support “Call Waiting” Feature

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app

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WhatsApp
Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now.

When you’re already talking on the phone and another person tries to call you, most phones and operators let you know that you’ve got a call waiting. Very few VOIP services support that, though, and WhatsApp wasn’t among them until now, Android Police reported on Friday.

Earlier, when somebody would try to call you on WhatsApp while you were already on the phone, they would hear it ring, but, no one would answer. The call would then get disconnected.

Call waiting is available in v2.19.352 stable (APK Mirror) and above of WhatsApp, and v2.19.128 (APK Mirror) of WhatsApp Business, the report added.

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp has become the latest Voice over Internet Protocol services provider to support call waiting feature even as the company has skipped adding call holding for now. Pixabay

Meanwhile, the latest WhatsApp beta update has brought three new options for dark mode on the app.

The light theme would offer a white background. Dark theme, as the name suggests, would enable dark mode on WhatsApp, according to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates.

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Another option, which is ‘Set by Battery Saver’, dark mode would be activated only when the smartphone’s battery level drops below a certain point. This third option is said to be available only for smartphones running on Android 9.0 or older. (IANS)