Facebook’s WhatsApp Messenger Installed Malware on Phones

Robert BuheckerHackingLeave a Comment

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Facebook’s WhatsApp Hacked

The Facebook-owned “WhatsApp” fell prey to a spyware vulnerability which was exploited by an Israeli cyber intelligence company. Once WhatsApp was alerted about the vulnerability, they notified their 1.5 billion users that they needed to update their app immediately. Still, the update came too late for some who had their phone calls spied on and their operating systems have taken over by the third party.

Victims of the malware attempt would not know that their phone was being hacked. The process of the malware resulted from a voice call made through the app. Once the victim answered the call through WhatsApp, the hackers placed the malicious code on the mobile devices. A cybersecurity expert told CNN that it might not have mattered if victims even answered their phone for their phones to be infected.

The same expert told CNN that the malware attack on mobile phones showed all of the signs that it was a private company that works with governments. In most cases, when malware is installed on a phone, victims will not know it. Fortunately, the code was only installed onto WhatsApp and not on the rest of the smartphone. If you enjoy the WhatsApp app and want to continue using it, update the app to fix the vulnerability.

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Human Rights Activists Targeted in WhatsApp Attack

As of now, it appears that this attack was targeted specifically to human rights activists. This was discovered due to a small connection made between a human rights lawyer and the Israeli cyber-security group NSO. The NSO Group invented the malware, yet, claims that only government agencies have access to it. This complicated the case since the lawyer who is a victim of the malware attack is part of a case against NSO.

The NSO Group’s past does raise questions though. Last year the cybersecurity group might have violated international law due to the phone software being sold to oppressive regimes. However, the company denies that its software is being used for any form of malicious activity.

Signs Your Phone Has Malware

Malware or spyware can infect your phone without you even knowing it. It can happen when a romantic partner secretly installs an app to track your location if they do not trust you, through downloading apps on a jailbroken device, or from clicking malicious links. In most cases, users will not know if their phones have been infected.

There are some signs your phone has been hacked, but the most noticeable include a battery that drains faster than normal, an increased amount of ads on your phone, or apps appearing that you never installed.

Secure Forensics and our mobile forensic experts can help victims of a hacked phone. With decades of experience, we will be able to remove the malware on your mobile devices without damaging the data the devices contain. For your free phone consultation, contact us today at 1-800-288-1407.