WhatsApp ‘fixes’ bug that let hackers break into video calls

Ruben Fields
October 12, 2018

WhatsApp has fixed a bug that let hackers take over users' applications when they answered an incoming video call, the Facebook unit said this week.

Silvanovich reported the vulnerability to WhatsApp at the end of August this year. However, only on September 28th, in the case of WhatsApp for Android, and October 3rd for the iOS variant, WhatsApp came up with a solution to this issue.

The culprit was 'Memory corruption bug in WhatsApp's non-WebRTC video conferencing implementation, ' said Natalie Silvanovich, fellow Google Project Zero expert‏. This essentially means that the flaw left WhatsApp users vulnerable during video calls on the app. The vulnerability occurred if a victim accepted a voice call from a corrupted signal.

Your WhatsApp will receive a malformed RTP packet when you are on a video call.

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This trigger results in the app crashing for the user (Android or iOS) and while there's no specific mention of any other potential issues that may arise from this, there's always the possibility of something nefarious occurring. WhatsApp's web client is not affected because it uses WebRTC for video calls. The researcher has published proof-of-concept code on the websites, and instructions also on how to perform the attack. Tavis Ormandy, a security researcher at Google, described the flaw as "a big deal".

It added that there was no evidence that the bug was widely known in the malicious hacking world or was exploited to attack WhatsApp users. The bug was fixed in both the Android and iOS versions of the app, according to a report on ZDNet. "We promptly issued a fix to the latest version of WhatsApp to resolve this issue", a WhatsApp spokesperson said per ZDNet. She reported the bug to Facebook back in late August. The best idea is to keep ourselves up to date with the technology news and keep our selves and our related data safe.

"WhatsApp beta for Android 2.18.305: WhatsApp is implementing in this version ads for Status".

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