Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) research unit has identified a breach in WhatsApp that lets hackers send a malicious group chat message capable of crashing the entire app for all group members.
Check Point found that hackers can achieve their aim by becoming a member of the WhatsApp group, use WhatsApp Web and their web browser’s debugging tool to edit specific message parameters and send the edited text to the group. This edited message would cause a crash loop for group members, denying users access to all WhatsApp functions until they reinstall WhatsApp and delete the group with the malicious message.
Check Point head of product vulnerability research Oded Vanunu said, "Because WhatsApp is one of the world’s leading communication channels for consumers, businesses and government agencies, the ability to stop people using WhatsApp and delete valuable information from group chats is a powerful weapon for bad actors. All WhatsApp users should update to the latest version of the app to protect themselves against this possible attack."
Check Point Research r disclosed its findings to the WhatsApp bug bounty program in late August. WhatsApp acknowledged the findings and developed a fix to resolve the issue, which is available since WhatsApp version number 2.19.58. Users should manually apply on their devices. "WhatsApp responded quickly and responsibly to deploy the mitigation against exploitation of this vulnerability," Vanunu said.
"WhatsApp greatly values the work of the technology community to help us maintain strong security for our users globally," said WhatsApp Software Engineer Ehren Kret. "Thanks to the responsible submission from Check Point to our bug bounty program, we quickly resolved this issue for all WhatsApp apps in mid-September. We have also recently added new controls to prevent people from being added to unwanted groups to avoid communication with untrusted parties all together."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 17, 2019
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