Heads up, WhatsApp users! The messaging app urges its users to upgrade to the latest version of the app and keep their mobile OS up to date.
The Facebook-owned app disclosed on Tuesday, May 14, that a vulnerability enabled attackers to spread surveillance software to iPhones and Android smartphones with just a phone call. They also shared that the said update will fix the vulnerability in the messaging app.
“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices,” a company statement said.
According to Washington-based analyst Joseph Hall, the spyware appears to be related to the Pegasus software developed by Israeli-based NSO group, which is normally sold to law enforcement and intelligence services. The company also said that the said spyware “would be available to only advanced and highly motivated actors.”
Security researchers found out that Android and Apple phones can be infected with the spyware with a simple audio call through WhatsApp, even if the user does not answer. Yikes.
Facebook has not released any comment on the number of users affected but it said that they already reported the matter to the authorities.
In a statement to AFP, the NSO Group said that it “does not operate the system, and after a rigorous licensing and vetting process, intelligence and law enforcement determine how to use the technology to support their public safety missions.”
To update WhatsApp on your phone, just simply go to the App Store or to the Google Play Store and choose the option to install the latest version.