An estimated 200 million WhatsApp users may be at risk of being exposed to a bug which could harm their accounts. The popular messaging service WhatsApp puts up a risk of being taken over by hackers which can allow them to spread malware, including ransomware that ?demands victims to pay a fee to regain access to their files,? according to BBC.
The vulnerability fortunately affects only the web-based version of WhatsApp, according to Check Point, an Israeli software provider for IT security. Security researcher Kasif Dekel, from Check Point, was able to discover serious vulnerabilities which include vCard exploitation in the WhatsApp web-based version.
According to BBC, the vCard is much like a business card that lets you send contact information through the app. ?All an attacker needed to do to exploit the vulnerability was to send user a seemingly innocent vCard containing malicious code. Once opened, the alleged contact is revealed to be an executable file further compromising computers by distributing bots, ransomware, RATs, and other malwares,? Check Point shared in their blog.
?Bearing in mind that WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app, the chances of you opening a vCard sent to you is quite high,? Specialist Mark James from security firm ESET shared, according to BBC. ?Once opened, it could attempt to download and infect your system with ransomware.?
How to Update
Check Point was able to address the vulnerability to WhatsApp and was able to issue an update for the web-based version to fix the infected software. ?Thankfully, WhatsApp responded quickly and responsibly to deploy an initial mitigation against exploitation of this issue in all web clients, pending an update of the WhatsApp client,? the blog posted.
Make sure your WhatsApp Web is up to date by logging into the service and check the space above the search bar. If you haven?t yet been updated, then an ?Update Available? option will be displayed. The download will take a few seconds to complete, shared by the Journal.