Items tagged with WhatsApp

WhatsApp is popular because its end-to-end encryption gives users warm fuzzies over the privacy and security of their chats. However, the chat messaging application might not be quite as secure or private as you thought (or at least that was the case). That's because Google had been indexing links to group chats, which in turn allowed any Joe or Jane to join and see potentially private information. Apparently this had been going on for several years. As a result, there were hundreds of thousands of indexed chat group links on the web, all of which were a simple Google search away. Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are. The "Invite to Group via Link" feature allows groups... Read more...
“Dark mode” or “night mode” has long been popular with tech users. It is also now increasingly being adopted by major apps and operating systems. However, is dark mode simply an aesthetic preference or can it provide benefits to users? Companies and services like Google, Apple, and Facebook offer or plan to offer dark mode to help reduce eyestrain, increase battery life, and decrease display flickering.  Many apps and operating systems tend to prefer light user interfaces (UI). This brighter interface or “dark-on-light color scheme” was originally introduced in word processors to mimic the look of dark ink on light paper. A light UI is generally considered... Read more...
Over one billion people rely WhatsApp on a monthly basis for both personal and business use. Security vulnerabilities could therefore prove detrimental to communication and workflow. If you use WhatsApp, you will definitely want to make sure you have the latest version installed on your device. Security researchers recently discovered a WhatsApp bug that could completely wipe out your group chat histories. Security researchers at Check Point created a tool referred to as the “WhatsApp Manipulation Tool”. The tool essentially altered the parameters of the app. The researchers were able to use the new parameters to obtain access to the encryption and decryption keys that are generated... Read more...
Anyone who uses WhatsApp—and many people do, with the developers claiming 1.5 billion monthly active users—should make sure they have the latest version installed. Otherwise, they could be susceptible to a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to infiltrate their text messaging conversations, pictures, and other private information. The vulnerability is listed as CVE-2019-11931. In short, a hacker could remotely compromise a device through WhatsApp by sending over a video file injected with malicious code. All the hacker would need is a phone number of a targeted user. "A stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to... Read more...
WhatsApp bills itself as a free and secure messaging application with end-to-end encryption and cross platform support, all of which have made it a popular option. However, it may not be as secure as advertised. Vulnerabilities that were disclosed last year have still not been addressed, and if abused, could allow an attacker to spoof messages. Researchers at Checkpoint disclosed the a trio of attack vectors last year, explaining that they could enable a hacker to change a user's messages, change a sender's identity, and make private messages viewable to the public. One of those has been addressed, but two of the attack vectors still remain, as researchers recently demonstrated at the Black Hat... Read more...
An Israeli company that managed to hack WhatsApp earlier this year is now claiming it has developed new software that can stealthily swipe cloud data from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It can even bypass two-factor authentication and warning emails on target devices. Developed by NSO Group, the software is called Pegasus. Apparently it has been used for several years by various governments and spy agencies to gather data from smartphones, presumably from people of interest for one reason or another. The latest iteration, however, extends past smartphones and can pluck data from the cloud. People who are supposedly familiar with NSO Group's sales pitch told Financial Times that... Read more...
In yet another blow to Huawei as it struggles to deal with a US ban, Facebook is distancing itself from the ostracized smartphone maker by no longer allowing its apps to be preinstalled on the company's handsets. That includes not just Facebook, but also WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which the social media giant owns. US intelligence agencies have long warned that Huawei could be linked to spying on behalf of China. More recently, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made the claim that Huawei is directly funded by the Chinese government, and the National Defense Authorization Act subsequently banned US government agencies from using products from Huawei (and also ZTE). Things have only gone... Read more...
WhatsApp, a Facebook property, has issued a warning to users of its app and is asking users to upgrade to the latest version of the app. Reports surfaced this week that a company based in Israel has been able to successfully install malware that could listen in on phone calls made via WhatsApp. While WhatsApp confirmed the vulnerability, it didn't name the company that allegedly has the capability of listening in on conversations. WhatsApp is calling for users of its app to update to the latest version of the app and to make sure that their mobile operating system is up to date to protect against targeted exploits designed to compromise information that is stored on the mobile devices. The... Read more...
Facebook recently revealed that it is working on cross-platform messaging between its three social media apps. Although the software rewrite is still in its infancy, it was immediately met with criticism and apprehension. Facebook’s intention of merging their messaging services has spurred concerns about privacy and calls for antitrust regulation. The New York Times reported last week that Facebook was developing software that would merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The apps would remain separate, but their messaging services would be interoperable. Facebook’s goal is to increase user engagement and discourage users from turning to other messaging platforms. The software... Read more...
Facebook currently fosters three popular platforms that are [for the most part] distinct from its eponymous social network: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. All three platforms feature their own respective messaging component; Instagram users, for instance, can't use the app to contact users on WhatsApp. That will all change in the future, as Facebook is reportedly in the process of rebuilding its software infrastructure to allow cross-platform messaging from any of its standalone properties to another. According to reporting by the New York Times, the software rewrite is currently in its infancy and might not be made public until late 2019 or early 2020. By tying its various... Read more...
Facebook might be joining the blockchain party in a potentially big way, by developing its very own cryptocurrency that would enable users to transfer money over WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging service the company acquired in early 2014 for $19 billion. On the surface, blockchain and WhatsApp seem like a natural fit. The appeal of WhatsApp is that it utilizes end-to-end encryption and is viewed as a secured messaging platform. It's also available to the public at large and boasts over 1.5 billion monthly users, who collectively send 60 billion messages every day, according to data Mark Zuckerberg provided for the fourth quarter of 2017. Those figures are undoubtedly even higher today.... Read more...
WhatsApp users have been forwarding a message around that some might find incredibly annoying. The message will cause the app to hang for a bit, after which it will then function normally. No malicious content is transferred with the message according to reports. The message reads "If you touch the black point your WhatsApp will hang." The message is then forwarded by a black dot and in some cases emojis. Naturally, a good portion of the people who get it can't resist the temptation to touch the black dot. As for why the message can cause WhatsApp to hang, it has to do with symbols included in the message that WhatsApp doesn’t recognize. Since the app doesn't recognize the characters,... Read more...
WhatsApp co-founder of Jan Koum is sitting on what is estimated to be a $9.1 billion fortune, and he will have plenty of time to enjoy that cash now that he has departed the company. That massive fortune came to Koum and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton when Facebook purchased their company back in 2009 for $22 billion in cash and stock. Acton and Koum haven't been very happy with Facebook, especially in recent months after the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach.  In fact, Acton led a charge to encourage people to delete Facebook, biting the hand that fed him billions. So, what is 42-year-old Koum going to do with the remainder of his days? Sitting on that $9.1 billion fortune, he can do... Read more...
Police around the world have been using fingerprints to catch criminals for decades. Normally these fingerprints are lifted from surfaces or objects at the scene of a crime. Police in Wales recently used a photograph of a finger to catch and convict 11 drug traffickers. The process of using fingerprints from a digital photo is hailed as groundbreaking. Dave Thomas of South Wales Police said that the police force will now analyze images more closely when it finds them on smartphones seized during investigations. In this case, the police seized a smartphone at a home where an anonymous tip informed police of potential drug activity. The phone was found to have WhatsApp messages that went back for... Read more...
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