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

WhatsApp-based wormable Android malware spotted on the Google Play Store
Apr 07, 2021
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
Mar 27, 2021
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

Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution

Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution
Apr 15, 2024Active Directory / Attack Surface
To minimize the risk of privilege misuse, a trend in the privileged access management (PAM) solution market involves implementing just-in-time (JIT) privileged access. This approach to  privileged identity management  aims to mitigate the risks associated with prolonged high-level access by granting privileges temporarily and only when necessary, rather than providing users with continuous high-level privileges. By adopting this strategy, organizations can enhance security, minimize the window of opportunity for potential attackers and ensure that users access privileged resources only when necessary.  What is JIT and why is it important?   JIT privileged access provisioning  involves granting privileged access to users on a temporary basis, aligning with the concept of least privilege. This principle provides users with only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks, and only for the amount of time required to do so. One of the key advantages of JIT provisioning

Beware — A New Wormable Android Malware Spreading Through WhatsApp

Beware — A New Wormable Android Malware Spreading Through WhatsApp
Jan 25, 2021
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,

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

WhatsApp Delays Controversial 'Data-Sharing' Privacy Policy Update By 3 Months
Jan 16, 2021
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
Jan 06, 2021
"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,

48 U.S. States and FTC are suing Facebook for illegal monopolization

48 U.S. States and FTC are suing Facebook for illegal monopolization
Dec 10, 2020
The US Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of 48 state attorneys general on Wednesday filed a pair of sweeping antitrust suits against Facebook, alleging that the company abused its power in the marketplace to neutralize competitors through its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and depriving users of better privacy-friendly alternatives. "Facebook has engaged in a systematic strategy — including its 2012 acquisition of up-and-coming rival Instagram, its 2014 acquisition of the mobile messaging app WhatsApp, and the imposition of anti-competitive conditions on software developers — to eliminate threats to its monopoly," the FTC  said  in its complaint. A  separate lawsuit  filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James also claimed that in illegally acquiring competitors in a predatory manner, the social media company stripped users of the benefits of competition, limited consumer choices, and their access to rivals with better privacy practices. Specifically,

New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices

New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices
Nov 16, 2019
The recent controversies surrounding the WhatsApp hacking haven't yet settled, and the world's most popular messaging platform could be in the choppy waters once again. The Hacker News has learned that last month WhatsApp quietly patched yet another critical vulnerability in its app that could have allowed attackers to remotely compromise targeted devices and potentially steal secured chat messages and files stored on them. The vulnerability — tracked as CVE-2019-11931 — is a stack-based buffer overflow issue that resided in the way previous WhatsApp versions parse the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file, resulting in denial-of-service or remote code execution attacks. To remotely exploit the vulnerability, all an attacker needs is the phone number of targeted users and send them a maliciously crafted MP4 file over WhatsApp, which eventually can be programmed to install a malicious backdoor or spyware app on the compromised devices silently. The vulnerability

Just a GIF Image Could Have Hacked Your Android Phone Using WhatsApp

Just a GIF Image Could Have Hacked Your Android Phone Using WhatsApp
Oct 03, 2019
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a GIF is worth a thousand pictures. Today, the short looping clips, GIFs are everywhere—on your social media, on your message boards, on your chats, helping users perfectly express their emotions, making people laugh, and reliving a highlight. But what if an innocent-looking GIF greeting with Good morning, Happy Birthday, or Merry Christmas message hacks your smartphone? Well, not a theoretical idea anymore. WhatsApp has recently patched a critical security vulnerability in its app for Android, which remained unpatched for at least 3 months after being discovered, and if exploited, could have allowed remote hackers to compromise Android devices and potentially steal files and chat messages. WhatsApp Remote Code Execution Vulnerability The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-11932 , is a double-free memory corruption bug that doesn't actually reside in the WhatsApp code itself, but in an open-source GIF image parsing library th

WhatsApp 'Delete for Everyone' Doesn't Delete Media Files Sent to iPhone Users

WhatsApp 'Delete for Everyone' Doesn't Delete Media Files Sent to iPhone Users
Sep 16, 2019
Mistakenly sent a picture to someone via WhatsApp that you shouldn't have? Well, we've all been there, but what's more unfortunate is that the 'Delete for Everyone' feature WhatsApp introduced two years ago contains an unpatched privacy bug, leaving its users with false sense of privacy. WhatsApp and its rival Telegram messenger offer "Delete for Everyone," a potentially life-saving feature on which millions of people today rely to escape the awkwardness of mistakenly sending messages / pictures / videos to the wrong person. As the name indicates, the ' Delete for Everyone ' feature is intended to unsend mistakenly sent inappropriate messages—including text, photos and videos—from the recipient's phone, or from the phones of all members of a group. In the case of WhatsApp, the feature is only available within 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds of sending a message you want to delete, which is fine and a fair use case. However, it tur

Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram

Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram
Jul 16, 2019
If you think that the media files you receive on your end-to-end encrypted secure messaging apps can not be tampered with, you need to think again. Security researchers at Symantec yesterday demonstrated multiple interesting attack scenarios against WhatsApp and Telegram Android apps, which could allow malicious actors to spread fake news or scam users into sending payments to wrong accounts. Dubbed " Media File Jacking ," the attack leverages an already known fact that any app installed on a device can access and rewrite files saved in the external storage, including files saved by other apps installed on the same device. WhatsApp and Telegram allow users to choose if they want to save all incoming multimedia files on internal or external storage of their device. However, WhatsApp for Android by default automatically stores media files in the external storage, while Telegram for Android uses internal storage to store users files that are not accessible to any othe

Hackers Used WhatsApp 0-Day Flaw to Secretly Install Spyware On Phones

Hackers Used WhatsApp 0-Day Flaw to Secretly Install Spyware On Phones
May 14, 2019
Whatsapp has recently patched a severe vulnerability that was being exploited by attackers to remotely install surveillance malware on a few "selected" smartphones by simply calling the targeted phone numbers over Whatsapp audio call. Discovered, weaponized and then sold by the Israeli company NSO Group that produces the most advanced mobile spyware on the planet, the WhatsApp exploit installs Pegasus spyware on to Android and iOS devices. According to an advisory published by Facebook, a buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on target phones by sending a specially crafted series of SRTCP packets. Apparently, the vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-3568 , can successfully be exploited to install the spyware and steal data from a targeted Android phone or iPhone by merely placing a WhatsApp call, even when the call is not answered. Also, the victim would not be able to find out about the intrusion af

Just Answering A Video Call Could Compromise Your WhatsApp Account

Just Answering A Video Call Could Compromise Your WhatsApp Account
Oct 10, 2018
What if just receiving a video call on WhatsApp could hack your smartphone? This sounds filmy, but Google Project Zero security researcher Natalie Silvanovich found a critical vulnerability in WhatsApp messenger that could have allowed hackers to remotely take full control of your WhatsApp just by video calling you over the messaging app. The vulnerability is a memory heap overflow issue which is triggered when a user receives a specially crafted malformed RTP packet via a video call request, which results in the corruption error and crashing the WhatsApp mobile app. Since the vulnerability affect RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol) implementation of Whatsapp, the flaw affects Android and iOS apps, but not WhatsApp Web that relies on WebRTC for video calls. Silvanovich also published a proof-of-concept exploit, along with the instructions for reproducing the WhatsApp attack. Although the proof-of-concept published by Silvanovich only triggers memory corruption, another Go

WhatsApp Group Video Call and Instagram Video Chat Are Coming Soon

WhatsApp Group Video Call and Instagram Video Chat Are Coming Soon
May 02, 2018
Facebook announced a whole lot of new features at its 2018 Facebook F8 developers conference, including Dating on Facebook, letting users clear their web browsing history, real-time language translation within Messenger, and many more. Besides announcing exciting features for its social media platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also gave us a quick look at the features Facebook introduced for companies that it owns, like WhatsApp and Instagram. During Facebook's F8 conference on Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced a long-awaited feature for WhatsApp— Group Video Calling . Yes, you heard that right. WhatsApp would soon be adding a group video calling feature to the popular end-to-end messaging app, making it possible for its over billion users to have face-to-face conversations with multiple people at once. Although there are not many details about the WhatsApp group video calling feature at this moment, it is clear that WhatsApp will now allow four people to have one-on-one

WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats

WhatsApp Flaw Could Allow 'Potential Attackers' to Spy On Encrypted Group Chats
Jan 10, 2018
A more dramatic revelation of 2018—an outsider can secretly eavesdrop on your private end-to-end encrypted group chats on WhatsApp and Signal messaging apps. Considering protection against three types of attackers—malicious user, network attacker, and malicious server—an end-to-end encryption protocol plays a vital role in securing instant messaging services. The primary purpose of having end-to-end encryption is to stop trusting the intermediate servers in such a way that no one, not even the company or the server that transmits the data, can decrypt your messages or abuse its centralized position to manipulate the service. In order words—assuming the worst-case scenario—a corrupt company employee should not be able to eavesdrop on the end-to-end encrypted communication by any mean. However, so far even the popular end-to-end encrypted messaging services, like WhatsApp, Threema and Signal, have not entirely achieved zero-knowledge system. Researchers from Ruhr-Universität

Fake WhatsApp On Google Play Store Downloaded By Over 1 Million Android Users

Fake WhatsApp On Google Play Store Downloaded By Over 1 Million Android Users
Nov 04, 2017
Cybercriminals are known to take advantage of everything that's popular among people in order to spread malware, and Google's official Play Store has always proved no less than an excellent place for hackers to get their job done. Yesterday some users spotted a fake version of the most popular WhatsApp messaging app for Android on the official Google Play Store that has already tricked more than one million users into downloading it. Dubbed Update WhatsApp Messenger , came from an app developer who pretended to be the actual WhatsApp service with the developer title "WhatsApp Inc."—the same title the actual WhatsApp messenger uses on Google Play. You might be wondering how the sneaky app developer was able to use the same title as the legitimate Facebook-owned maker of the messaging client—thanks to a Unicode character space. The app maker added a Unicode character space after the actual WhatsApp Inc. name, which in computer code reads WhatsApp+Inc%C2%A0 .

Awesome! WhatsApp Now Lets You Send Files of Any Format

Awesome! WhatsApp Now Lets You Send Files of Any Format
Jul 14, 2017
Have you ever felt like wishing of sending any type of file immediately to your friends and office colleagues on WhatsApp directly, instead of just contacts, images or documents? Well, now you can… The latest version of WhatsApp for Android and iOS now allows users to send and receive any type of files, whether it's .mp3, .avi, .php, zip files, or even APKs. The company last month rolled out this feature to its beta users for Android, and now after being tested successfully, the feature is being released to all WhatsApp users in the latest public update for iOS and Android. The ability to send any file types also works on the WhatsApp-Web client . And of course, there's a file-size limit: Android users can send files up to 100MB iOS users can send files up to 128MB While WhatsApp-web users can only send up to 64MB To send any file format you just need to select 'Document' from 'Attach.' Additionally, the latest update of the app will allow you to select photos

UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack

UK Demands Encryption Backdoor As London Terrorist Used WhatsApp Before the Attack
Mar 27, 2017
The government has once again started asking for backdoor in encrypted services, arguing that it can not give enough security to its citizens because the terrorists are using encrypted apps to communicate and plot an attack. Following last week's terrorist attack in London, the UK government is accusing technology firms to give terrorists "a place to hide," saying Intelligence agencies must have access to encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp to prevent such attacks. According to authorities , the killer, Khalid Masood, 52, was active on WhatsApp messaging app just two minutes before he attacked Britain's Houses of Parliament in Westminster that killed four people. Here's what Amber Rudd, Britain's Home Secretary said while speaking at BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate

Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?

Explained — What's Up With the WhatsApp 'Backdoor' Story?
Jan 14, 2017
What is a backdoor? By definition: "Backdoor is a feature or defect of a computer system that allows surreptitious unauthorized access to data, " either the backdoor is in encryption algorithm, a server or in an implementation, and doesn't matter whether it has previously been used or not. Yesterday, we published a story based on findings reported by security researcher Tobias Boelter that suggests WhatsApp has a backdoor that "could allow" an attacker, and of course the company itself, to intercept your encrypted communication. The story involving the world's largest secure messaging platform that has over a billion users worldwide went viral in few hours, attracting reactions from security experts, WhatsApp team, and Open Whisper Systems, who partnered with Facebook to implement end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp. Note: I would request readers to read complete article before reaching out for a conclusion. And also, suggestions and opinions are
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