Unlike most “threats” and “news” forwarded on WhatsApp; this is something that WhatsApp itself has confirmed. So, it’s not fake fear-mongering or propaganda, but sooner or later UNESCO will have to announce the Indian National Anthem as the best one around the globe. Facebook had acquired WhatsApp, so as its parent company, officials from Facebook have released statements regarding the specific Android, iOS and Windows phone versions that are vulnerable to this threat.
The vulnerability of it allows hackers to take remote control of your device, i.e., access your data, may it be confidential files or the conversations you are having, all can be accessed if you, unfortunately, download this certain infected video file which would be in MP4 format.
The nature of this threat resembles Pegasus spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, but there have been no confirmations about such further details from the officials. Pegasus was used earlier to hack into phones by simply putting through a missed call. So, a threat of such nature is should be dealt with immediately as previously many journalists, activists and others from the social sphere have suffered a great deal due to such privacy breach.
“A stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to a WhatsApp user. The issue was present in parsing the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file and could result in a DoS or RCE. This affects Android versions prior to 2.19.274, iOS versions prior to 2.19.100, Enterprise Client versions prior to 2.25.3, Windows Phone versions before and including 2.18.368, Business for Android versions prior to 2.19.104, and Business for iOS versions prior to 2.19.100.” – Facebook
Is Whatsapp Privacy a Myth?
Privacy is a myth, something which was debated and sort of a conspiracy theory barely a few years ago is common knowledge today, companies own your data and data is in a sense the new currency. So, while there is not much you could do to stop the companies, besides stopping yourself from using their, but let’s be real. While the multi-national companies do it bit by bit, bytes, hackers out there can do the same just by circulating a malicious video.
Officials have announced that the latest security patch would fix this problem. And so besides not auto-downloading, anything and everything that you receive on WhatsApp as a safety measure, update your app and advise others the same. For a change, spread something that’s actually helpful and legitimate through WhatsApp.