WhatsApp, which boasts over 1.5 billion users, has always claimed to be secure, but nothing is foolproof—a WhatsApp vulnerability recently made headlines. This became clear when Pegasus, a piece of software from an Israel-based company called NSO, was reportedly used by someone to exploit a vulnerability in WhatsApp to target human rights campaigners. WhatsApp has since fixed the vulnerability.
How did the hack of the WhatApp vulnerability happen?
According to reports, the Pegasus software can give remote access to microphones, cameras and private messages with just a single missed call. Apparently, NSO’s tech can exploit a vulnerability in the messaging app to breach the digital communications of Android phone and iPhone users.
This breach emphasizes the importance of multilateral rules to prevent the uncontrolled abuse of such technology. According to NSO, Pegasus is a tool for defending against terrorists and organized crime. But the investigations done by human rights groups claim that the software can fall into the wrong hands, and has been used to spy on journalists and government critics. NSO, on the other hand, responds that its spyware is strictly licensed to government agencies and it would investigate allegations of misuse.
Furthermore, WhatsApp itself has a role in this as well– it neither notified people about the vulnerability nor did it mention anything about the hack in the app update section in Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
What you can do?
The WhatsApp engineers have now solved the problem of the WhatsApp insecurity, patched the vulnerability, and have asked the users to update their apps. In a statement, the messaging service said that WhatsApp users should upgrade to the latest version of the app and keep the operating system of their phone up to date to protect against any potential targeted exploits that could compromise data stored on phones.
But the problem is only solved for users if we update the application. This is the only way to protect data, including photos, videos, chats and contacts, stored on the messaging app, from the WhatsApp vulnerability.