WhatsApp users are being urged to update their apps after Check Point Research detailed a bug which could sow havoc in Group chats.
The good news is that the vulnerability only appears to affect group chats and a patch addressing the bug was released back in September with version 2.19.58.
Check Point Research reports that an attacker need only access a group chat via WhatsApp Web to start the attack. From there using a browser’s debugging tool specific message parameters could be changed which can in turn lead to a crash loop for all members in the targeted group.
The only way to fix this was by deleting WhatsApp from your smartphone and reinstalling it.
“Because WhatsApp is one of the world’s leading communication channels for consumers, businesses and government agencies, the ability to stop people using WhatsApp and delete valuable information from group chats is a powerful weapon for bad actors. All WhatsApp users should update to the latest version of the app to protect themselves against this possible attack,” advises Check Point’s head of Product Vulnerability Research, Oded Vanunu.
If for some reason you have not updated WhatsApp since September, now is a good time to do that, especially if you are a member of a number of Group chats.
“Thanks to the responsible submission from Check Point to our bug bounty program, we quickly resolved this issue for all WhatsApp apps in mid-September. We have also recently added new controls to prevent people from being added to unwanted groups to avoid communication with untrusted parties all together,” said WhatsApp Software Engineer, Ehren Kret.
So long as your WhatsApp is up to date, you should be fine. We recommend our readers check for updates for the app, just in case.