Check Point predicts crash of WhatApp chats

Tech researchers employed by Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm Check Point have detected a serious flaw in WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging application.

Some 65 billion messages are exchanged on WhatsApp every per day by over 1.5 billion users around the globe.

As per a global warning sent out by Check Point on Tuesday, the defect enables a bad actor to deliver a destructive group chat message that produces a swift and complete crash of the entire application for all members of the group chat.

“The crash is so severe that users are forced to uninstall and reinstall the application, in order to gain proper use of WhatsApp. Furthermore, the user is unable to return to the group chat, which leads to the loss of all group chat history, indefinitely. The group chat cannot be restored after the crash occurs and must be deleted in order to stop the crash-loop,’’ says the alert.

Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s Head of Product Vulnerability Research, said: “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.”

The Check Point Research team found the vulnerability by inspecting the communications between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Web, the web version of the app which mirrors all messages sent and received from the user’s phone. This enabled researchers to see the parameters used for WhatsApp communications and manipulate them.

Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies, had disclosed such findings to the WhatsApp bug bounty programme in August as well. WhatsApp then acknowledged the findings and developed a fix to resolve the issue, said the cybersecurity firm.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:54:15 AM |

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