WhatsApp updates are usually filled with excitement as they bring new features to the app in order to enhance the overall user experience. The Facebook-owned messaging app is constantly working on new features and testing them with beta users before rolling out publicly. But all development hit a hard pause when a flaw in the app allowed hackers to install spyware on phones with just a voice call.
The excitement around new features also took a break as users were concerned of their privacy and security. There are over 1.3 billion users around the world, and it is important for WhatsApp to avoid panic and offer a solution at the earliest. If you'd been waiting, a new update has finally arrived for WhatsApp Android and iOS users that fixes the notorious vulnerability.
If you haven't turned on automatic updates for apps on Play Store or App Store, stop everything else right now and head over to Android and iOS app marketplace, look for WhatsApp and hit that "Update" button. In the description, WhatsApp says the new update includes "security fix for CVE-2019-3568."
For those unaware, CVE-2019-3568 is a buffer overflow vulnerability found inside WhatsApp VoIP stack that could execute remote codes. Hackers could leverage the vulnerability to install spyware on the victim's phone with just a voice call within the app. Both users of Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp are affected by this commercial spyware, which can do a range of things like access chats, photos, and contacts, eavesdrop on calls, turn on microphone and camera, and more.
The spyware is believed to be developed by an Israel-based company NSO Group, which sells advanced spyware packages to governments. The vulnerability was discovered earlier this month, and Facebook rushed to offer a fix for all versions of the app.
If you haven't updated WhatsApp on your phone, there cannot be anything more important right now if you really care about privacy and security of your information. In case you're planning to switch apps due to such instances, Telegram founder Pavel Durov gave a reason in a detailed blog post titled "WhatsApp will never be secure."
"In almost six years of its existence, Telegram didn't have any major data leak or security flaw of the kind WhatsApp demonstrates every few months," Durov pointed out. But compared to WhatsApp, Telegram only has a fraction of a userbase, over 200 million monthly active users globally. Despite being secure, Telegram still has a long way to go before it can level up with WhatsApp.