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Category Archives: WhatsApp

WhatsApp bug exposes users to hackers

Vulnerabilities in the web-based version of popular instant messaging app WhatsApp recently left up to 200 million users exposed to hackers and malware. The bug was picked up by an Israeli IT security firm, and WhatsApp put a fix in place before news of the potential threat spread. Nevertheless, it highlights the need to remain vigilant when using apps like WhatsApp, whether for business reasons or in a personal setting. Here’s what you need to know about the security incident and how to protect yourself going forward.

The web-based version of the WhatsApp app was only launched a few months back, initially for WhatsApp accounts on Android and Windows Phone devices and later for those on iPhones, but has already grown in popularity. The recent security vulnerability related to vCards, electronic business cards shared by WhatsApp users, and effectively amounted to a kind of phishing.

An error in the WhatsApp web client meant that less-than-innocuous vCard business cards created by hackers were not properly filtered out by the app. As a result, these phishing-style cards made it through to users who, if they clicked them, were at risk of the cards converting themselves to more harmful executable scripts once downloaded – and potentially accessing and playing foul with users’ personal data. There are even reports of a ransomware approach being taken by hackers in this case, with attempts being made to extort cash from WhatsApp users in exchange for restored access to their infected devices and hijacked data.

WhatsApp put a fix in place, by releasing an updated version of the app, prior to making public news of the security vulnerability. It’s worth making sure you have the latest version of WhatsApp installed on your phone, if you haven’t checked recently – WhatsApp’s phone and web versions are linked to one another, so ensuring you are up-to-date on your phone is the way to ensure you’re safe when using the web client too. The patch is also available directly through the web client, though this won’t update your phone’s version of the app at the same time.

The whole affair also serves as a timely reminder that it pays to be vigilant when it comes to using WhatsApp and other instant messaging platforms – including email. Avoid opening links or downloading files that you’re not expecting to receive, and proceed with caution even if you were anticipating them. It’s better to double check with the sender that they’re consciously passing a file to you, and that they’re fully aware of its contents, than to wait until your device has been infected and damage has potentially been inflicted on your vital data.

Want to learn how to keep your devices safe from phishing attempts and other potential security vulnerabilities from apps like WhatsApp? Give us a call and let us equip you with tamperproof solutions.

Posted in General Articles A, Security – News and General | Tagged hackers, Malware, personal data, Phishing, Security, VoIP, whatsapp | Comments closed

WhatsApp launches web chat client

Web_May8_AWhatsApp has quickly become the world’s leading mobile instant messaging app. Launched in 2009, the service now boasts over 700 million active monthly users, and has hopes to increase that to a billion. But one feature that WhatsApp enthusiasts have been hoping for some time is the ability to use the system to chat on desktop and laptop devices. Now, at last that’s possible, with the recent launch of WhatsApp’s web-based chat client. So here’s the scoop on what this development means and some tips on how to get in on the action.

To get started with WhatsApp Web, you’ll need to open a QR code on the WhatsApp website on your desktop computer and then scan it in WhatsApp on your Android, BlackBerry, Nokia or Windows Phone mobile device. That’s right – for reasons unknown (WhatsApp puts it down to “Apple platform limitations”), users of Apple mobile devices running iOS are as yet unable to access the web client, and it’s not clear when that will change (though, as ever, hacks have emerged to make this possible).

The other drawback is that the web chat client is only available within Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera – but if you’re currently using another browser, that’s easily achieved with a quick switch. Once you’ve scanned the QR code, which identifies your mobile WhatsApp account to the web client so that the two can be synced up, you’re ready to get on with chatting on the web – whether that’s for work or pleasure.

The web client acts as an extension of the mobile app, meaning that those conversations you’ve started on your phone are mirrored across to the web but not actually stored there – all data remains on the phone. This means that, in order for the web client to work, your phone needs to remain connected to the internet in order for remote access to those chats to be possible. In addition, to be able to use the service at all, you need to ensure that your phone is equipped with the latest version of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is growing in significance for businesses, the service recently having added VoIP calling capabilities. Get in touch with us to find out how to make it work for you.

This entry was posted in Cloud – Web Trends, General Articles A and  Communication, Instant Messaging, VoIP, web chat, web client, whatsapp. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.