The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter
CrowdSec

The Hacker News - Most Trusted Cyber Security and Computer Security Analysis: Whatsapp

Critical WhatsApp Bugs Could Have Let Attackers Hack Devices Remotely

Critical WhatsApp Bugs Could Have Let Attackers Hack Devices Remotely
September 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp has released  security updates  to address two flaws in its messaging app for Android and iOS that could lead to remote code execution on vulnerable devices. One of them concerns  CVE-2022-36934  (CVSS score: 9.8), a critical integer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp that results in the execution of arbitrary code simply by establishing a video call. The issue impacts the WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business for Android and iOS prior to versions 2.22.16.12. Also patched by the Meta-owned messaging platform is an integer underflow bug, which refers to an opposite category of errors that occur when the result of an operation is too small for storing the value within the allocated memory space. The high-severity issue, given the CVE identifier  CVE-2022-27492  (CVSS score: 7.8), affects WhatsApp for Android prior to versions 2.22.16.2 and WhatsApp for iOS version 2.22.15.9, and could be triggered upon receiving a specially crafted video file. Exploiting  integer overflows  and 

Researchers Find Counterfeit Phones with Backdoor to Hack WhatsApp Accounts

Researchers Find Counterfeit Phones with Backdoor to Hack WhatsApp Accounts
August 22, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Budget Android device models that are counterfeit versions associated with popular smartphone brands are harboring multiple trojans designed to target WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business messaging apps. The malware, which Doctor Web first came across in July 2022, were discovered in the system partition of at least four different smartphones: P48pro, radmi note 8, Note30u, and Mate40, was "These incidents are united by the fact that the attacked devices were copycats of famous brand-name models," the cybersecurity firm  said  in a report published today. "Moreover, instead of having one of the latest OS versions installed on them with the corresponding information displayed in the device details (for example, Android 10), they had the long outdated 4.4.2 version." Specifically, the tampering concerns two files "/system/lib/libcutils.so" and "/system/lib/libmtd.so" that are modified in such a manner that when the libcutils.so system library is us

Google Removes "App Permissions" List from Play Store for New "Data Safety" Section

Google Removes "App Permissions" List from Play Store for New "Data Safety" Section
July 16, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Following the launch of a new "Data safety" section for Android apps on the Play Store, Google appears to be readying to remove the app permissions list from both the mobile app and the web. The change was  highlighted  by Esper's Mishaal Rahman earlier this week. The  Data safety  section, which Google began rolling out in late April 2022, is the company's answer to Apple's Privacy Nutrition Labels in iOS, allowing users to have a unified view of an app's data collection and processing practices. To that end, third-party app developers are required to furnish the required details by July 20, 2022. With this deadline now approaching next week, the tech giant has taken the step of entirely removing the permissions section. The decision also appears to be a hasty one, as a number of popular apps such as Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Amazon (including Amazon Prime Video), DuckDuckGo, Discord, and PhonePe are yet to populate their Data safety sec

Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures

Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures
April 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor with affiliations to the cyber warfare division of Hamas has been linked to an "elaborate campaign" targeting high-profile Israeli individuals employed in sensitive defense, law enforcement, and emergency services organizations. "The campaign operators use sophisticated social engineering techniques, ultimately aimed to deliver previously undocumented backdoors for Windows and Android devices," cybersecurity company Cybereason  said  in a Wednesday report. "The goal behind the attack was to extract sensitive information from the victims' devices for espionage purposes." The monthslong intrusions, codenamed " Operation Bearded Barbie ," have been attributed to an Arabic-speaking and politically-motivated group called Arid Viper, which operates out of the Middle East and is also known by the monikers APT-C-23 and Desert Falcon. Most recently, the threat actor was  held responsible  for attacks aimed at Palestinian activists

'Purple Fox' Hackers Spotted Using New Variant of FatalRAT in Recent Malware Attacks

'Purple Fox' Hackers Spotted Using New Variant of FatalRAT in Recent Malware Attacks
March 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The operators of the  Purple Fox malware  have retooled their malware arsenal with a new variant of a remote access trojan called FatalRAT, while also simultaneously upgrading their evasion mechanisms to bypass security software. "Users' machines are targeted via trojanized software packages masquerading as legitimate application installers," Trend Micro researchers  said  in a report published on March 25, 2022. "The installers are actively distributed online to trick users and increase the overall botnet infrastructure." The findings follow  prior research  from Minerva Labs that shed light on a similar modus operandi of leveraging fraudulent Telegram applications to distribute the backdoor. Other disguised software installers include WhatsApp, Adobe Flash Player, and Google Chrome. These packages act as a first-stage loader, triggering an infection sequence that leads to the deployment of a second-stage payload from a remote server and culminating in the

Facebook Hit With $18.6 Million GDPR Fine Over 12 Data Breaches in 2018

Facebook Hit With $18.6 Million GDPR Fine Over 12 Data Breaches in 2018
March 16, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) on Tuesday slapped Facebook and WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms a fine of €17 million (~$18.6 million) for a series of security lapses that occurred in violation of the European Union's  GDPR laws  in the region. "The DPC found that Meta Platforms failed to have in place appropriate technical and organizational measures which would enable it to readily demonstrate the security measures that it implemented in practice to protect EU users' data, in the context of the twelve personal data breaches," the watchdog  said  in a press release. The decision follows the regulator's investigation into 12  data   breach   notifications  it received over the course of a six-month period between June 7 and December 4, 2018. "This fine is about record keeping practices from 2018 that we have since updated, not a failure to protect people's information," Meta  said  in a statement shared with the Associated Press. "

Here's How to Find if WhatsApp Web Code on Your Browser Has Been Hacked

Here's How to Find if WhatsApp Web Code on Your Browser Has Been Hacked
March 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Meta Platforms' WhatsApp and Cloudflare have banded together for a new initiative called Code Verify to validate the authenticity of the messaging service's web app on desktop computers. Available in the form of a Chrome and Edge  browser extension , the  open-source add-on  is designed to "automatically verif[y] the authenticity of the WhatsApp Web code being served to your browser," Facebook  said  in a statement. The goal with Code Verify is to confirm the integrity of the web application and ensure that it hasn't been tampered with to inject malicious code. The social media company is also planning to release Firefox and Safari plugins to achieve the same level of security across browsers. The system works with Cloudflare acting as a third-party audit to compare the cryptographic hash of WhatsApp Web's JavaScript code that's shared by Meta with that of a locally computed hash of the code running on the browser client. Code Verify is also meant t

Signal CEO Resigns, WhatsApp Co-Founder Takes Over as Interim CEO

Signal CEO Resigns, WhatsApp Co-Founder Takes Over as Interim CEO
January 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of the popular encrypted instant messaging service Signal, has announced that he is stepping down as the chief executive of the non-profit in a move that has been underway over the last few months. "In other words, after a decade or more, it's difficult to overstate how important Signal is to me, but I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have, and also believe that it is an important step for expanding on Signal's success," Marlinspike  said  in a blog post on Monday. Executive chairman and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who famously urged users to #DeleteFacebook in March 2018 and founded the Signal Foundation along with Marlinspike after he walked away from the social media giant in 2017 over a conflict with Facebook's plans to monetize WhatsApp, will serve as the interim CEO while the search for a replacement is on. Founded in July 2014, Signal has more than 40 million monthly users, in

Meta Sues Hackers Behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Phishing Attacks

Meta Sues Hackers Behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Phishing Attacks
December 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms on Monday said it has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. state of California against bad actors who operated more than 39,000 phishing websites that impersonated its digital properties to mislead unsuspecting users into divulging their login credentials. The social engineering scheme involved the creation of rogue webpages that masqueraded as the login pages of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, on which victims were prompted to enter their usernames and passwords that were then harvested by the defendants. The tech giant is also seeking $500,000 from the anonymous actors. The attacks were carried out using a relay service, Ngrok , that redirected internet traffic to the phishing websites in a manner that concealed the true location of the fraudulent infrastructure. Meta said the volume of these phishing attacks ramped up in volume since March 2021 and that it worked with the relay service to suspend thousands of URLs to the

WhatsApp to Finally Let Users Encrypt Their Chat Backups in the Cloud

WhatsApp to Finally Let Users Encrypt Their Chat Backups in the Cloud
September 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp on Friday  announced  it will roll out support for end-to-end encrypted chat backups on the cloud for Android and iOS users, paving the way for storing information such as chat messages and photos in Apple iCloud or Google Drive in a cryptographically secure manner. The optional feature, which will go live to all of its two billion users in the coming weeks, is expected to only work on the primary devices tied to their accounts, and not companion devices such as desktops or laptops that simply mirror the content of WhatsApp on the phones. The development marks an escalation in the growing tussle over encryption technology and meeting law enforcement needs, wherein privacy-preserving technologies have created impenetrable barriers to comply with legal demands to access vast swathes of digital information stored on smartphones and the cloud — a phenomenon referred to as the "going dark" problem. While the Facebook-owned messaging platform flipped the switch on end-

WhatsApp Photo Filter Bug Could Have Exposed Your Data to Remote Attackers

WhatsApp Photo Filter Bug Could Have Exposed Your Data to Remote Attackers
September 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A now-patched high-severity security vulnerability in WhatApp's image filter feature could have been abused to send a malicious image over the messaging app to read sensitive information from the app's memory. Tracked as  CVE-2020-1910  (CVSS score: 7.8), the flaw concerns an out-of-bounds read/write and stems from applying specific image filters to a rogue image and sending the altered image to an unwitting recipient, thereby enabling an attacker to access valuable data stored the app's memory. "A missing bounds check in WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.21.1.13 and WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.21.1.13 could have allowed out-of-bounds read and write if a user applied specific image filters to a specially-crafted image and sent the resulting image," WhatsApp  noted  in its advisory published in February 2021. Cybersecurity firm Check Point Research, which disclosed the issue to the Facebook-owned platform on November 10, 2020, said it was able to

WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over New Internet Regulations

WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over New Internet Regulations
May 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp on Wednesday fired a legal salvo against the Indian government to block new regulations that would require messaging apps to trace the "first originator" of messages shared on the platform, thus effectively breaking encryption protections. "Requiring messaging apps to 'trace' chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people's right to privacy," a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Hacker News via email. "We have consistently joined civil society and experts around the world in opposing requirements that would violate the privacy of our users." With over 530 million active users, India is WhatsApp's biggest market by users.  The lawsuit, filed by the Facebook-owned messaging service in the Delhi High Court, seeks to bar new internet rules that come into force effective May 26. Called the Intermediary Guide

Facebook Will Limit Your WhatsApp Features For Not Accepting Privacy Policy

Facebook Will Limit Your WhatsApp Features For Not Accepting Privacy Policy
May 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp on Friday disclosed that it won't deactivate accounts of users who don't accept its  new privacy policy  rolling out on May 15, adding it will continue to keep reminding them to accept the new terms. "No one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15 because of this update," the Facebook-owned messaging service  said  in a statement. The move marks a turnaround from its previous stance earlier this year when the company outlined plans to make the accounts completely inaccessible should users choose not to comply with the data-sharing agreement and opt not to have their WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook. "If you haven't accepted by [May 15], WhatsApp will not delete your account. However, you won't have full functionality of WhatsApp until you accept," the company had  previously said . "For a short time, you'll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won't be able to

New WhatsApp Bugs Could've Let Attackers Hack Your Phone Remotely

New WhatsApp Bugs Could've Let Attackers Hack Your Phone Remotely
April 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently addressed two security vulnerabilities in its messaging app for Android that could have been exploited to execute malicious code remotely on the device and even exfiltrate sensitive information. The flaws take aim at devices running Android versions up to and including Android 9 by carrying out what's known as a "man-in-the-disk" attack that makes it possible for adversaries to compromise an app by manipulating certain data being exchanged between it and the external storage. "The two aforementioned WhatsApp vulnerabilities would have made it possible for attackers to remotely collect TLS cryptographic material for TLS 1.3 and TLS 1.2 sessions," researchers from Census Labs  said  today.  "With the TLS secrets at hand, we will demonstrate how a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack can lead to the compromise of WhatsApp communications, to remote code execution on the victim device and to the extraction of Noise protocol keys u

WhatsApp-based wormable Android malware spotted on the Google Play Store

WhatsApp-based wormable Android malware spotted on the Google Play Store
April 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered yet another piece of wormable Android malware—but this time downloadable directly from the official Google Play Store—that's capable of propagating via WhatsApp messages. Disguised as a rogue Netflix app under the name of "FlixOnline," the malware comes with features that allow it to automatically reply to a victim's incoming WhatsApp messages with a payload received from a command-and-control (C&C) server.  "The application is actually designed to monitor the user's WhatsApp notifications, and to send automatic replies to the user's incoming messages using content that it receives from a remote C&C server," Check Point researchers said in an analysis published today. Besides masquerading as a Netflix app, the malicious "FlixOnline" app also requests intrusive permissions that allow it to create fake Login screens for other apps, with the goal of stealing credentials and gain access to

Watch Out! That Android System Update May Contain A Powerful Spyware

Watch Out! That Android System Update May Contain A Powerful Spyware
March 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have discovered a new information-stealing trojan, which targets Android devices with an onslaught of data-exfiltration capabilities — from collecting browser searches to recording audio and phone calls. While malware on Android has previously taken the guise of copycat apps, which go under names similar to legitimate pieces of software, this sophisticated new malicious app masquerades itself as a System Update application to take control of compromised devices. "The spyware creates a notification if the device's screen is off when it receives a command using the Firebase messaging service," Zimperium researchers  said  in a Friday analysis. "The 'Searching for update..' is not a legitimate notification from the operating system, but the spyware." Once installed, the sophisticated spyware campaign sets about its task by registering the device with a Firebase command-and-control (C2) server with information such as battery percentage, sto

Beware — A New Wormable Android Malware Spreading Through WhatsApp

Beware — A New Wormable Android Malware Spreading Through WhatsApp
January 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered Android malware has been found to propagate itself through WhatsApp messages to other contacts in order to expand what appears to be an adware campaign. "This malware spreads via victim's WhatsApp by automatically replying to any received WhatsApp message notification with a link to [a] malicious Huawei Mobile app," ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko said. The link to the fake Huawei Mobile app, upon clicking, redirects users to a lookalike Google Play Store website. Once installed, the wormable app prompts victims to grant it notification access, which is then abused to carry out the wormable attack. Specifically, it leverages WhatApp's quick reply feature — which is used to respond to incoming messages directly from the notifications — to send out a reply to a received message automatically. Besides requesting permissions to read notifications, the app also requests intrusive access to run in the background as well as to draw over other apps,

WhatsApp Delays Controversial 'Data-Sharing' Privacy Policy Update By 3 Months

WhatsApp Delays Controversial 'Data-Sharing' Privacy Policy Update By 3 Months
January 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
WhatsApp said on Friday that it wouldn't enforce its recently announced  controversial data sharing policy  update until May 15. Originally set to go into effect next month on February 8, the three-month delay comes following "a lot of misinformation" about a revision to its privacy policy that allows WhatsApp to share data with Facebook, sparking widespread concerns about the exact kind of information that will be shared under the incoming terms. The Facebook-owned company has since repeatedly clarified that the update does not expand its ability to share personal user chats or other profile information with Facebook and is instead simply providing further transparency about how user data is collected and shared when using the messaging app to interact with businesses. "The update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data," WhatsApp  said  in a post. "W

WhatsApp Will Disable Your Account If You Don't Agree Sharing Data With Facebook

WhatsApp Will Disable Your Account If You Don't Agree Sharing Data With Facebook
January 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
"Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA," opens WhatsApp's  privacy policy . "Since we started WhatsApp, we've aspired to build our Services with a set of strong privacy principles in mind." But come February 8, 2021, this opening statement will no longer find a place in the policy. The Facebook-owned messaging service is alerting users in India of an update to its  terms of service  and  privacy policy  that's expected to go into effect next month. The "key updates" concern how it processes user data, "how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats," and "how we partner with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products." The mandatory changes allow WhatsApp to  share  more user data with other Facebook companies, including account registration information, phone numbers, transaction data, service-related information, interactions on the platform,
Online Courses and Software

Sign up for cybersecurity newsletter and get latest news updates delivered straight to your inbox daily.