SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

WhatsApp reveals major security flaw that could let hackers access phones

WhatsApp has revealed a vulnerability in its system that could have allowed hackers access to its users' phones, with a London-based human rights lawyer poss...

Posted: May 14, 2019 9:01 AM

WhatsApp has revealed a vulnerability in its system that could have allowed hackers access to its users' phones, with a London-based human rights lawyer possibly among the targets.

The encrypted messaging service, owned by Facebook, said Monday that it had discovered and fixed the vulnerability the attackers had sought to exploit. The hackers could implant malicious code on a victim's phone by placing a voice call to the victim on WhatsApp.

"The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.

While WhatsApp did not name the private company, a source familiar with the investigation into the attack said that company is NSO Group, an Israeli cyber company that has developed a powerful piece of malware designed to spy on its victims.

In a statement provided to CNN on Monday, NSO said, "Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies."

NSO said its technology was licensed to government agencies "for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror," adding that those agencies determine how the technology is used without any involvement from the company.

The Financial Times first reported details of the vulnerability.

Human rights activists targeted?

Among those believed to have been targeted via WhatsApp is a London-based human rights lawyer.

On Sunday, the lawyer received two calls that John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab believes were part of the attack. Citizen Lab is an academic security research group that investigates digital threats to civil society groups and online freedom of expression.

The apparent attempt to breach the lawyer's phone was not successful, Scott-Railton said, as WhatsApp had patched the vulnerability by Sunday.

WhatsApp had reached out to Citizen Lab and a number of other groups that work with human rights defenders before publicly acknowledging the attack.

The collaboration between WhatsApp and Citizen Lab helped identify the attempted attack on the London-based lawyer. The lawyer does not want to be named, Scott-Railton told CNN.

Responding specifically to the apparent targeting of the lawyer, NSO Group said in a statement, "NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization, including this individual."

Amnesty International filed a petition at the district court of Tel Aviv on Tuesday demanding Israel withdraw NSO's export license, Amnesty's lawyer told CNN Business.

The group claims that NSO software "threatens the rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression, in breach of Israel's obligations under international human rights law."

It said one of its researchers had been targeted via a WhatsApp message containing NSO's spying software in 2018 while working on a campaign to release six women's rights activists detained in Saudi Arabia.

How to update your WhatsApp

WhatsApp said while it has fixed the vulnerability the attackers were exploiting, it is also encouraging users to update to the latest version of the WhatsApp app "out of an abundance of caution." The company said it has also contacted US law enforcement.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission, which supervises Facebook's activities in Europe, said it had been informed of the vulnerability on Monday, adding it was unclear at this stage whether any EU user data had been affected.

Still, it too urged users to ensure the update WhatsApp on their devices.

Here's how:

On an iPhone

-- Open the App Store and select updates.

-- Select "WhatsApp" and Update.

On an Android device

-- Open the Play Store and tap on the 3 lines in the upper left corner.

-- Select "My apps & games" from the menu.

-- Select "WhatsApp" and select Update.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 27°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Paris
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Mattoon/Charleston
Mostly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 33°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 27°
Terre Haute
Mostly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Snow, Freezing Temps
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Meet the 'Black and White Guy,' a local artist that gained national...and international attention

Image

Overnight: Snow, with some acculumation. Low: 29°

Image

Tuesday: Temperatures drop, rain moves in. High: 47

Image

CCTV shows the moment a railroad worker snatched a child from the path of a train

Image

Monday: Mostly sunny, warm. High: 67

Image

Sunday Evening Forecast

Image

weather explainer

Image

mural painting

Image

house fire contained

Image

sullivan co drug arrest

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1304111

Reported Deaths: 23976
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5225529835
DuPage865471253
Will71908965
Lake64628965
Kane55689753
Winnebago31173459
Madison29860514
St. Clair27165503
McHenry27059278
Peoria21319283
Champaign19785137
Sangamon17788230
McLean16948169
Tazewell15966256
Rock Island14277303
Kankakee13523196
Kendall1234890
LaSalle11786232
Macon10243190
DeKalb9314118
Vermilion9071127
Adams8195117
Williamson7212126
Whiteside6866163
Boone639571
Ogle576378
Clinton570390
Grundy561271
Coles553094
Knox5320137
Jackson485663
Henry471663
Effingham468071
Livingston459683
Macoupin459681
Stephenson452880
Marion4409115
Woodford440662
Franklin433370
Monroe431290
Jefferson4158119
Randolph409284
Lee397051
Morgan376479
Logan364256
Montgomery364273
Fulton363250
Bureau353881
Christian351472
Fayette313654
Perry312959
Iroquois290764
Jersey262749
McDonough259843
Douglas254635
Saline250553
Lawrence239125
Shelby224737
Union222940
Crawford208925
Bond197524
Cass194824
Pike176851
Jo Daviess176524
Clark176132
Warren173846
Wayne173151
Hancock172730
Carroll171336
Richland171340
Ford170146
Edgar166639
White166426
Washington162725
Moultrie157126
Clay147343
Greene142432
Mason141942
Piatt141714
Johnson139214
De Witt139023
Mercer135433
Wabash134112
Massac131139
Cumberland128119
Menard118712
Jasper114317
Marshall99117
Hamilton82215
Schuyler7005
Brown6886
Pulaski6807
Stark61023
Edwards55412
Henderson52114
Calhoun5092
Scott4671
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4473
Hardin36612
Pope3063
Out of IL20
Unassigned02291

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0408