How can I update WhatsApp following the latest cyberattack it suffered?

How can I update WhatsApp following the latest cyberattack it suffered?

WhatsApp has been yet another messenger platform to suffer a cyberattack recently. The Facebook-owned company revealed that hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on phones and other devices using a major vulnerability in the app.

The attack targeted a “select number of users” according to WhatsApp, but the number of accounts that have been compromised is still unclear. The company has taken precautions by urging all its 1.5 billion users to update their apps.

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption for the messages its users exchange on the app, meaning they should be displayed in a legible form on the sender or recipient’s device. However, the surveillance would have let an attacker read the messages on the target’s device.

How was the security flaw used?

The surveillance attack involves the cyber actor using the voice calling function of the app to ring a target’s device. The software would be installed even if the call was not answered. A report even suggests that the call would often disappear from the call log of the app, meaning that the user won’t even know they’ve had a missed call.

WhatsApp has identified that Israeli cyber-arms dealer company, The NSO Group, is behind the surveillance software. NSO’s flagship software, Pegasus, is able to collect intimate data from a target device, including capturing data through the microphone and camera, and gathering location data. It’s worth noting that the software is licensed to authorized government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror.

Here’s how to update your app:

On Android devices:

  • Open the Google Play store
  • Tap the menu on the top left on the screen
  • Tap My Apps & Games
  • If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  • If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  • The latest version of WhatsApp on Android is 2.19.134

On iOS devices:

  • Open the App Store
  • Tap Updates at the bottom of the screen
  • If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  • If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  • The latest version of WhatsApp on iOS is 2.19.51

Do you have any questions about WhatsApp’s hack and how to take precautions? Let us know in the comments below.

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