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5 Ways Your WhatsApp Messages Can Be Hacked

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WhatsApp is a popular and easy to use messaging program. It has some security features, like the use of end-to-end encryption to keep messages private. However, hacks targeting WhatsApp could compromise the privacy of your messages and contacts.

Here are five ways that WhatsApp can be hacked.

1. Remote Code Execution via GIF

WhatsApp hack - GIF attack

In October 2019, security researcher Awakened revealed a vulnerability in WhatsApp that let hackers take control of the app using a GIF image. The hack works by taking advantage of the way that WhatsApp processes images when the user opens the Gallery view to send a media file.

When this happens, the app parses the GIF in order to show a preview of the file. GIF files are special because they have multiple encoded frames. This means that code can be hidden within the image.

If a hacker were to send a malicious GIF to a user, they could compromise the user’s entire chat history. The hackers would be able to see who the user had been messaging and what they had been saying. They could also see users’ files, photos, and videos sent through WhatsApp

The vulnerability affected versions of WhatsApp up to 2.19.230 on Android 8.1 and 9. Fortunately, Awakened disclosed the vulnerability responsibly and Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has been able to patch the issue. To keep yourself safe from this problem, you should update WhatsApp to version 2.19.244 or above.

2. The Pegasus Voice Call Attack

WhatsApp hack - Pegasus attack

Another WhatsApp vulnerability discovered in early 2019 was the Pegasus voice call hack. This scary attack allowed hackers to access a device simply by placing a WhatsApp voice call to their target. Even if the target didn’t answer the call, the attack could still be effective. And the target may not even be aware that malware has been installed on their device.

This worked through a method known as buffer overflow. This is where an attack deliberately puts too much code into a small buffer so that it “overflows” and writes code into a location it shouldn’t be able to access. When the hacker can run code in a location that should be secure, they can take malicious actions.

In the case of this attack, it installed an older and well-known piece of spyware called Pegasus. This allowed hackers to collect data on phone calls, messages, photos, and video. It even let them activate devices’ cameras and microphones to take recordings.

This vulnerability applied to Android, iOS, Windows 10 Mobile, and Tizen devices. It was used by the Israeli firm NSO Group which has been accused of spying on Amnesty International staff and other human rights activists. After news of the hack broke, WhatsApp was updated to protect it from this attack.

If you are running WhatsApp version 2.19.134 or earlier on Android or version 2.19.51 or earlier on iOS, then you need to update your app immediately.

3. Socially Engineered Attacks

Another way that WhatsApp is vulnerable is through socially engineered attacks.These exploit human psychology to steal information or spread misinformation. A security firm called Check Point Research revealed one such attack they named FakesApp. This allowed people to misuse the quote feature in group chat and to alter the text of another person’s reply. Essentially, it allows hackers to plant fake statements that appear to be from other legitimate users.

The researchers were able to do this by decrypting WhatsApp communications. This allowed them to see data sent between the mobile version and the web version of WhatsApp. And from here, they could change values in group chats. Then they could impersonate other people, sending messages which appeared to be from them. They could also change the text of replies.

The researchers point out this could be used in worrying ways to spread scams or fake news. Even though the vulnerability was disclosed in 2018, it had still not been patched by the time the researchers spoke at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas in 2019, according to ZNet.

4. Media File Jacking

WhatsApp hack - media file jacking

A vulnerability which affects both WhatsApp and Telegram is media file jacking. This attack takes advantage of the way that apps receive media files like photos or videos and write those files to a device’s external storage.

The attack starts by installing a malicious piece of malware hidden inside an apparently harmless app. This malware can then monitor incoming files for Telegram or WhatsApp. When a new file comes in, the malware can swap out the real file for a fake file. The researchers who discovered the issue, Symantec, suggest it could be used to scam people or to spread fake news.

There is a quick fix for this issue. In the WhatsApp app, you should look in Settings and go to Chat Settings. Then find the Save to Gallery option and make sure it is set to Off. This will protect you from this vulnerability. However, a true fix for the issue will require app developers to completely change the way that apps handle media files in the future.

5. Facebook Spying on Whatsapp Chats

WhatsApp hack - Facebook spying

The last topic to consider is more of a security issue than a true vulnerability. It regards whether WhatsApp messages could potentially be read by Facebook or not.

In a blog post, WhatsApp implied that because it uses end-to-end encryption, it is impossible for Facebook to read WhatsApp content: “we’ve rolled out end-to-end encryption. When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you’re the only people who can read them. Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else.”

However, according to developer Gregorio Zanon, this is not strictly true. The fact WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption does not mean all messages are private. On an operating system like iOS 8 and above, apps can access files in a “shared container.”

Both the Facebook and WhatsApp apps use the same shared container on devices. And while chats are encrypted when they are sent, they are not necessarily encrypted on the originating device. This means the Facebook app could potentially copy information from the WhatsApp app.

To be clear, there is no evidence that Facebook has used shared containers to view private WhatsApp messages. But the potential ability is there for them to do so. Even with end-to-end encryption, your messages may not be private from Facebook’s all-seeing eye.

Stay Aware of Security Issues in WhatsApp

These are examples of the way that WhatsApp can be hacked. While some of these issues have been patched since their disclosure, others have not.

 

 

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Kubidyza is a Global Celebrity Blogger, Music Promoter and a Social Media Influencer | Most Influential Blogger In Ghana For Bookings: Kubinho80@gmail.com

Lifestyle

How Do You Feel About Instagram’s Plan To Start Hiding The Likes On Posts Starting Today

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Instagram

From today, Instagram will start a trial that hides the number of likes on the posts of users in the US.

This has already been tested in Australia, Canada, Japan and a handful of other territories. If it works in the US, the change is expected to be rolled out globally, with users of Instagram all over the world having their number of likes hidden from their viewers.

According to Instagram, the decision to hide your number of likes from others is so that users can “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

How do you feel about Instagram

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said hiding the “like” feature will help people’s well-being and health.

Speaking last week at the Wired25 conference about this new development, Mosseri said: “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s wellbeing and health.”

A 2017 study found that Instagram was the worst social network for your mental health, linking it to depression and anxiety.

But do you think hiding the number of “likes” from other Instagram users will solve anything? How do you feel about this new development?

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Lifestyle

John Legend Named 2019 ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

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John Legend

John Legend has been named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ for 2019. The announcement was made by Blake Shelton who was given the title in 2017, on Tuesday’s episode of “The Voice” where they are both judges.

The crowd went wild with excitement after Blake Shelton welcomed the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winning musician with his new title.

“It is my duty to formally introduce the next ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’ ” Shelton said. “He just so happens to be here tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, the man, the myth, the Legend: 2019’s Sexiest Man Alive.’ ”

Shelton continued, “You already came into this show with an EGOT. And, then you won ‘The Voice,’ so it became a VEGOT. Now you have a VEGOTSMA,” referring to Legend’s legendary list of accolades.

Shelton went on to give Legend a pair of shorts bedazzled with “EGOTSMA,” an acronym symbolizing Legend’s big wins plus the latest addition: Sexiest Man Alive. John Legend is now one of the only 15 “EGOT” winners that have won the title.

https://twitter.com/NBCTheVoice/status/1194432103481409537

“I was excited, but I was a little scared at the same time because it’s a lot of pressure,” Legend told People about receiving the honor. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m (also) following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

On how his music career began he said “Whenever we had opportunities to sing in church or in school, my mom would suggest that I do it. She always encouraged me.”

“My father taught me about character. He taught us by example. He always conducted himself with such grace and dignity,” the singer said. “My parents always taught me that if you’re going to succeed in life, part of success is having humility. It’s a good way to live life, treating other people the way you want to be treated.”

“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career,” Legend said. “I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now.”

John Legend also wrote on Instagram;

1995 John would be very perplexed to be following 2018 @IdrisElba as #SexiestManAlive. Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed but thank you @People for finding me sexy. I’ll take it.

John Legend named 2019

The singer’s wife, Chrissy Teigen went on a Twitter binge just after the announcement was made.

“I cannot WAIT for people to get mad about John being the sexiest man alive,” she wrote. “It’s my new Starbucks holiday cup.”

John Legend named 2019

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Lifestyle

TV3 Accused Of Robbing Enam Off The Winner Of Ghana’ Most Beautiful 2019

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Enam

The finals of the annual TV3 Ghana’s Most Beautiful came off yesterday, 10th November 2019.

At the end of the show, Ekua Mends Bannerman was adjudged the winner of Ghana Most Beautiful 2019. Ekua represented the Central Region.

But most social media users are upset with the choice of the judges. According to netizens, Enam, the rep for Volta Region was more deserving of the crown.

Enam fans claim she put up the best performance throughout the show and deserved the first place.

Besides that, the stats on the GMB app stated clearly Enam was leading with more public votes.

Enam Had 112204 and Ekua Had 102151

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