Maintaining a high level of security while being online is no easy task. There are various ways of protecting oneself from all the bad elements on the Internet. Some use virtual private networks while others use encryption. As for WhatsApp, encryption has been chosen as a means of securing messages sent between users.
However, since the encryption method used by the system is end-to-end, that means none of these encrypted messages are verified first. They get sent to any recipient with the decryption key without even knowing if the contents of the messages are harmful or not. This is what security checkers from Check Point has flagged about the messaging app.
According to a press release from Israeli firm Check Point, online messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram have been discovered to contain a very serious security bug. The bug in question allows hackers to gain access to users’ account details including their contacts, messages, and media; including videos and still images. Hackers found a way to actually exploit this vulnerability and created a seemingly harmless message that can be sent to anyone.
The way this works is, the hacker will send a message to an unsuspecting victim. This message will contain quite interesting or funny images like a random cat photo. Within this message is the malicious code that gets executed once the receiver tries to open the message. From there on, the codes within the message will access all the pertinent information of the user within the messaging app.
To make matters worse, since the messages being sent uses end-to-end encryption, the system cannot check whether these messages are harmful or not. Luckily, Check Point alerted WhatsApp developers and they were very quick to respond with an update. Nevertheless, what this does is make it obvious that even though users may think their messages are safe, they are still at the mercy of hackers. Users are urged to be extra careful when opening messages especially from unknown senders.