Whatsapp has urged users to update their messaging app after concerns were raised that hackers could inject spy software on to phones via the call function. A vulnerability in the popular Facebook-owned messaging service has been discovered that allowed hackers to install spyware through an infected WhatsApp voice call. The spyware is capable of trawling through calls, texts and other data, activating the phone’s camera and microphone and performing other malicious activities.
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The spyware, developed by the secretive Israeli spyware company NSO Group, has the ability to give hackers full access to a phone remotely, allowing them to read messages, see contacts and activate the camera. The attack involved cyber hackers using WhatsApp’s voice calling a function to ring a device. The surveillance software would then be installed, even if that call was not picked up. The revelation adds to the questions over the reach of the Israeli company’s powerful spyware, which can hijack smartphones, control their cameras and effectively turn them into pocket-sized surveillance devices.Facebook implemented a server-side change to help protect users and pushed out updates for the various smartphone WhatsApp versions on Monday. Users are strongly advised to check for updates manually through the Apple App Store on an iPhone, Google Play or similar on an Android device, the Microsoft Store on Windows Phones and the Galaxy app store on Tizen devices. Failing that, uninstall WhatsApp from your phone will protect you from the attack.
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