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  1. This new WhatsApp feature could forever change how you send money New in-app service allows payments through WhatsApp - but you might not get it yet (Image credit: WhatsApp) Top messaging service WhatsApp has finally answered the prayers of many users by launching a new in-app digital payment feature. Initially only able in Brazil, the new feature allows person-to-person payments through the app, which currently has over two billion users worldwide. The new WhatsApp digital payments service will also allow users to make purchases from within the app, although features will initially be confined to select debit and credit cards. However, the company says it is aiming to widen that reach to other partners as the service expands to additional countries. Secure payments "We’re excited to announce that starting today we’re bringing digital payments to WhatsApp users in Brazil. People will be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat," the company wrote in a blog post announcing the news. Like the WhatsApp platform itself, payments are free to use, with a number of Mastercard and Visa-backed banks in Brazil already signed up, suggesting a similar arrangement might happen in other markets. WhatsApp expanded on the possibilities for retailers using the app, noting that simplifying payments simple can help small businesses get online and grow quickly. The payment system on WhatsApp is enabled by Facebook Pay, which launched back in November 2019, and is already in force across the parent company's family of apps, including Messenger and Instagram. WhatsApp says that extensive security is built in to the new payments service, with users needing to scan their fingerprint or enter a special six digit PIN to prevent any unauthorized transactions. There's no news on when the system will roll out to other markets, but given the amount of users WhatsApp has around the world, the company will surely be following its initial Brazilian launch with interest. This new WhatsApp feature could forever change how you send money
  2. What's next for WhatsApp: new features and tools on the horizon From 50-way video calls to animated stickers (Image credit: Shutterstock) It’s been a busy few months for WhatsApp. In February, the app’s long-awaited dark mode arrived, accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek video soundtracked by a rare recording of Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence. It was no mean feat – creating a new look for an app used by 1.5 billion took months of work, and the fanfare was justified – but the developers soon had a far bigger challenge on their hands: the coronavirus crisis. With physical contact banned throughout much of the world, developers had to move fast to keep up with the demands of millions of users depending on its services to keep in touch. Features like animated stickers were seemingly pushed to the back burner, and video calls came to the fore. "Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen that the use of voice and video calls has increased substantially on WhatsApp,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told TechRadar. “We expanded voice and video calling to eight participants in order to help bigger families and groups of friends stay connected at this difficult time, safe in the knowledge that their private calls are protected by end to end encryption." Messenger Rooms WhatsApp’s video chat service will get a further boost very soon with the integration of Facebook’s newly released Messenger Rooms. As its name suggests, Rooms was first launched as part of Facebook Messenger, but the company is integrating it into other apps and products too, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Portal devices. Rooms differs from WhatsApp’s video chats in a number of ways, allowing up to 50 people to pop in and out of a conversation in an ad-hoc way. Rather than scheduling a meeting at a specific time, as you would in Zoom or Google Meet, you can simply open a room and friends can drop in if they happen to be around – more like a lounge than a boardroom or a phone call. Tiffany Dohzen, product manager for Messenger Rooms, told TechRadar about her experience making the new app, and what sets it apart from tools like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet. She explained that while Facebook had been exploring ways to expand further into video chat for some time, the coronavirus pandemic was what really kickstarted development. Up to eight people can now join a standard WhatsApp video chat (Image credit: WhatsApp) “The idea of rooms as a product came around once we realised the accelerating needs for a product where you can spontaneously join and have hangouts really in the last few months,” she said. “Some of the cool things, beyond just video calls, are a lot of safety controls. We put huge value on not just making sure Rooms was fun, but also really safe. The creator can lock the room, kick someone out if they are misbehaving, and if you’ve blocked someone on Facebook they can’t join the Room. “We’ve also added lots of collaborative features, cool effects on the mobile apps, and new ones like lighting and backgrounds. The backgrounds are really cool. Some are animated, you can move them around.” Links to Messenger Rooms have already been spotted in WhatsApp beta releases for iPhone and Android, and although we don’t yet know when it will be fully integrated, the teams are wasting no time. Messenger Rooms on the desktop (Image credit: Facebook) As Dohzen explains, the Messenger Rooms team themselves are using the tool to keep in touch on a daily basis, which has resulted in faster development than might have been possible in ‘normal’ times. “It’s early days,” she explained. “We want to adapt and respond to what people need. We’re really excited that in a time when people are working remotely we were able to launch a product remotely using the product itself. “It’s really rare that you get to use a product like this [every day] because you need it. We ended up getting it to a place of polish much faster than if we hadn’t been using it remotely. Seeing it evolve into different use cases and feeling that we have that universal access – everyone can use it for free without worrying about time limits.” Stickers, encrypted backups and more So what else is on the way? The previously mentioned animated stickers haven’t been spotted since April, when they were found by the ever-vigilant writers at WABetaInfo, but they seem to be well into development might still appear later this year once things have settled down into a ‘new normal’. New automatic download rules look like another very handy addition. If and when these are implemented, they would prevent frequently forwarded images, videos and documents from being downloaded automatically, saving your phone’s precious storage space. Business users are likely to get some attention as well, as encrypted backups and QR codes have both appeared in a recent beta. Once implemented, this would allow iPhone users to choose whether their backups are encrypted on iCloud, and set a password that would be required for the backups to be recovered. Businesses would also be able to share their contact details with customers via a scanned code displayed on-screen. However, with the continued demand for video conferencing and chat tools, it looks like Messenger Rooms shortcuts will be the next big feature to arrive in WhatsApp. “Right now it’s rolled out worldwide through Messenger,” explained Dohzen, “Messenger on the desktop or apps. We’re working on launching it from WhatsApp and Instagram – those are already in testing. That’s the biggest. And it will be coming to portal – the ability to create a room from your Portal, [which has] a bigger screen – bur we don’t have a date specifically for it yet.” We’ll keep you posted as soon as we do. What's next for WhatsApp: new features and tools on the horizon
  3. How to make group video calls in WhatsApp with up to eight people The coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in the usage of video calling apps and services. WhatsApp, a messaging service that's used by over 1.5 billion people monthly, has also seen a dramatic rise in the use of its video calling feature. One major limitation with WhatsApp's group video calling feature was that it only supported four participants in a voice or video call. Recently, the Facebook-owned company got around to fixing this limitation and bumped the limit to eight people. This means that WhatsApp can now be used to host group video calls with up to eight participants. This new limitation is still low when compared to the likes of Google Duo, which supports up to 12 participants, and Messenger. However, the increased limit is still going to be more than enough for most casual users who are relying on WhatsApp's video calling feature to catch up with their friends and family during this pandemic. If you are looking to make group video calls with up to eight participants on WhatsApp, follow the steps below. It is important that all the parties whom you want to get on the group video call have updated WhatsApp to the latest version from the App Store or the Google Play Store. Only the latest version of the app supports up to eight participants in a video call. If any person whom you intend to add to a group video call is on an older version of the app, you will get a notification about it when you try to invite them for the call. Step 1: Open WhatsApp and swipe over to the 'Calls' tab. Then tap the floating call button you see at the bottom right corner. Step 2: Your contact list will now open. But before you select the contacts, you need to tap the New group call option. Step 3: Now proceed to select all the participants of the group call. You can select a maximum of seven contacts before the contact list is grayed out. All the contacts you select will be shown at the top of the contact list. Step 4: Now depending on whether you want to make a group video or voice call, tap the relevant button. A dialog box will pop up to inform you if one of the call contacts is on an older version of WhatsApp that does not support eight people in a group call. The good thing about WhatsApp group call is that you can add a new participant to a group call in an ongoing call as well. Simply tap the button located on the top-right corner while on a video call and then proceed to select the contact. Source: How to make group video calls in WhatsApp with up to eight people (Neowin)
  4. WhatsApp works with WHO to launch a new sticker pack WhatsApp has announced that it has collaborated with the World Health Organization to develop a new sticker pack called “Together at Home”. The new stickers are designed to be funny and educational. The stickers were also called universal by WhatsApp because they’re available in ten languages and break through other barriers such as the age barrier. The two entities hope the stickers will encourage people to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, expects the stickers to be a good way to communicate the importance of staying at home. It said that billions of stickers are sent every day on WhatsApp and help people express themselves in a pictorial form. It said that since stickers were launched a year and a half ago, they’ve become one of the fastest-growing ways that people communicate on WhatsApp. In its announcement, the firm said: “We hope people enjoy using these stickers to check-in on loved ones, particularly those that are feeling isolated, alone, and scared. This pack offers creative ways to remind people to wash their hands, maintain distance, exercise, and importantly to celebrate medical heroes as well as the personal heroes in all of our lives.” The stickers include various themes popular within lockdown culture such as indoor exercising and working from home in pyjamas but they also incorporate health advice such as not touching your face, washing your hands with soap, and checking to see if others are OK. Aside from English, the stickers are available in Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. Source: WhatsApp works with WHO to launch a new sticker pack (Neowin)
  5. How to make group calls on WhatsApp You can make video and audio calls with up to three other people Being able to stay in touch while social distancing is really important, which is why we’ve come to rely on apps that help you make group calls. WhatsApp, which sends messages over the internet rather than SMS, has become a popular alternative to texting, but it also lets you make calls. On WhatsApp, you can do an audio-only or video group call with up to four people. WhatsApp is a good alternative to Zoom for smaller groups as it uses end-to-end encryption (unlike Zoom). WhatsApp is available for both iOS and Android, so you can easily chat with or call people even if you don’t all have the same kind of phone. While you can access WhatsApp from your browser or download the desktop version of the app, you can only make and answer calls on mobile. You will need to set up an account on the app (and if you’re smart, secure it properly) in order to use it. One of the drawbacks of group calls on WhatsApp is that you can’t switch a group call between audio-only and video once you start the call. To switch, you’ll have to hang up and start the call again. While the interface looks a little different on Android than it does on iOS, the basic steps for making group calls are the same. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make group calls on WhatsApp: From the “Calls” section: Go to “Calls” by clicking on the phone button at the bottom of the screen Tap the button with a phone and a plus sign in the top-right corner of the screen Click on “New Group Call” This will open up a list of your contacts. You can search through them by typing in the names of the people you want to add into the search bar at the top. Add people to the call by clicking on the circles next to their names. Tap the phone button to start an audio call or the video button to start a video call. From a group chat: Click “Chats” on the bottom of your screen and then select a group conversation to open it Click on the button that has a phone and a plus sign in the top-right corner The names of the members of the group chat will pop up. Select who to add to the call by tapping the circles next to their names. Tap the video button to start a video call or the phone button to start an audio call You can also add more people to a one-on-one call. Here’s how: Tap “Chats” toward the bottom-right corner of your screen and then click on a conversation to open it Tap the phone button in the top-right corner to start an audio call or the video button to start a video call After the person you called has picked up, click on the button with a person and a plus sign in the top-right corner to add people to the call This will pull up a list of your contacts. To find someone quickly, type the name of who you want to add to the call into the search bar at the top, which will filter the list of contacts. Click on the name of the person you want to add. You may also get a pop-up window asking you if you want to add that person to a group call. Tap “Add” to let them join the call. Source: How to make group calls on WhatsApp (The Verge)
  6. WhatsApp is finally getting two important features it's been missing since day one Find what you need, fast (Image credit: Shutterstock) The latest beta version of WhatsApp gives us an intriguing look into the future, with three new features to look forward to. So, what's in store? Advanced search, password-protected backups are the two key features on the way, plus automatic download rules. For now, there's only evidence that these features are in the pipeline for Android users, while in iOS Advanced Search is already available in WhatsApp beta for iOS 2.20.30.25. For anyone who has a huge archive of messages, you'll know how hard it can be to track down files and links that have been sent to you. Thankfully, things are about to get a whole lot easier. As WABetaInfo reports, Advanced Search makes it incredibly simple to home in on different types of content. The feature lets you perform text-based search for photos, audio, links, GIFs, video and documents. It's not clear quite when this feature will make it way to everyone, but it is something that will be welcomed when it finally arrives. Another new option unearthed in the latest beta version of the Android app are new automatic download rules. The feature is currently undergoing development, and when it is finished it will help to save you data. WABetaInfo explains that when enabled "frequently forwarded images, videos, documents and voice messages will be never automatically downloaded from WhatsApp". This option is going to be enabled by default when it rolls out. Safe and sound It is already possible to backup your WhatsApp messages to Google Drive, but in future you will be able to secure them with a password to prevent unauthorised access. Future verions of the chat app will given you the option of encrypting backups and protecting them with a password of at least eight characters. The password you choose is not synchronized with either Facebook or WhatsApp, which is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand, this greatly reduces the risk of it being intercepted or hacked, but on the other, it means that if you forget your password, you lose access to your backup. These features are not yet functional, but it will be users of the beta version of the app that will be given the chance to try it out first. If you're not yet signed up as a WhatsApp beta tester, you can do so here. Source: WhatsApp is finally getting two important features it's been missing since day one (TechRadar)
  7. WhatsApp puts new limits on the forwarding of viral messages Popular messages can now be forward to a single person, down from five Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge With heightened scrutiny on the potential of private message apps to spread misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic, WhatsApp on Tuesday said it would place new limits on the forwarding of messages. Starting today, messages that have been identified as “highly forwarded” — sent through a chain of five or more people — can only be forwarded to a single person. The move is designed to reduce the speed with which information moves through WhatsApp, putting truth and fiction on a more even footing. “We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers,” the company, which is part of Facebook, said in a blog post. “However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.” For much of WhatsApp’s existence, it was easy for users to forward a single message to as many as 256 people with just a few taps. Initially, these messages were not labeled as forwards, and the end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp could make it almost impossible for authorities to determine who might be using the app to spread hate speech or calls to violence. This triggered a crisis in India, where WhatsApp was linked to mob violence. In 2018, WhatsApp began experimenting with limits on the number of times a message could be forwarded. It also began labeling forwarded messages for the first time, and adding two arrows to show that a message has been repeatedly forwarded. Last year, the company began limiting the number of people you can forward a single message to to five. It’s a soft limit: nothing prevents you from forwarding the same message over and over again to different people. But introducing more friction helped to slow the rate of forwarding overall — in the past year, WhatsApp says, forwards are down 25 percent around the world. But amid a huge surge in use related to the pandemic, WhatsApp has come under the spotlight for the way it can be used to spread misinformation. Last month, CNN and other news organizations found that the app had been used to share a variety of false information about “cures” for COVID-19 and hoaxes about military activity related to the disease. The prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, urged people to “please stop sharing unverified info on Whatsapp groups.” In response, WhatsApp promoted a bot made by the World Health Organization that provides information about the disease that has been vetted by healthcare professionals. The app has been used by more than 10 million people. WhatsApp also donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Network. Source: WhatsApp puts new limits on the forwarding of viral messages (The Verge)
  8. A game-changing new WhatsApp feature could arrive very soon Multiple device support could be coming soon (Image credit: Shutterstock) WhatsApp may be a massively popular way of keeping on touch with people, but few users would deny that there's room for improvement in a few areas. Keeping an eye on beta versions of the app is a great way to get an idea of what direction the app is going in, and to get glimpse of upcoming features before they see the light of day. The latest release – WhatsApp Beta v2.20.110 – includes a couple of tantilizing hints about new features. In addition to the self-destructing messages feature we'd already heard about, this version of the app also includes references to support for multiple devices. As spotted by WABetaInfo, the self-destructing messages feature appears to have undergone yet another name change. Having previous been known as Disappearing Messages and Delete Messages, WhatsApp is now referring to it as Expiring Messages. The name isn't all that's changed here, with the number of options for how long messages will exist before being deleted being reduced. Now users can only select between having message vanish after a day, a week or a month. But it is support for multiple devices that is more interesting. While the latest beta shows that WhatsApp is busy working on this option, it has not yet been activated and therefore cannot be tested right now. Multiple device security Once fully implemented, you'll be able to use WhatsApp on, for example, your phone and your tablet at the same time. To allay fears that someone else could simply log into your account on their phone without your knowledge or consent, the encryption keys used to secure messages will be changed every time a new device is added, and a notification displayed in the app. If you want to try out the WhatsApp beta, you'll have to sign up to the Google Play Beta Program. Right now, there is no more space for new beta testers, but it's worth checking back every now and then to see if a space has become available, or if more capacity has been added. Source: A game-changing new WhatsApp feature could arrive very soon (TechRadar)
  9. WhatsApp may soon be introducing self-destructing messages Naturally, you'll be able to set a timer for when the message is deleted The latest WhatsApp beta shows the company is planning on copying more than just Stories from Snapchat. It's also working on bringing self-destructing messages to its own app. A clock icon next the read receipts will show if a message is slated for automatic deletion. Having already made a pledge toward ensuring your privacy by password protecting your chat backups, the company is now working on allowing you to get rid of messages entirely thanks to Snapchat-inspired self-destructing messages. As WABetaInfo reports, the latest beta (version 2.20.83/2.20.84) for the Facebook-owned app includes a "Delete messages" option for private chats. Previous betas had already added a similar setting for group chats, but WhatsApp has now expanded the functionality to personal conversations, as well. When you open a person's profile in WhatsApp, you can now see the new option right above the "Encryption" prompt. Clicking on it opens a pop-up which lets you set a timer for automatic deletion. The options that are currently available range from 1 hour to 1 year. Once it's activated, a clock icon next to the read receipts will mark messages set for self-destruction. Unfortunately, the implementation, as it stands, seems to be considerably inferior compared to WhatsApp's rivals. Telegram — and even Facebook's own Messenger — allow for you to create a separate, new chat for more sensitive conversations that you intentionally want to be ephemeral. However, WhatsApp's version of the feature, at the moment at least, seems to be all-or-nothing and will tag all your new messages for self-destruction, lacking the granularity offered by other apps. And as always, this is only a feature in testing. While it's likely WhatsApp will ultimately release it, it's also possible that the powers that be scrap the feature altogether. Let's hope they don't — and that our wait for this feature isn't as long as that for dark mode. Source
  10. WhatsApp dark mode now available for iOS and Android Facebook finally says hello to darkness WhatsApp is finally getting a new dark mode on iOS and Android today. After months of beta testing on both mobile operating systems, the WhatsApp dark mode will be available for all users today. If you already have dark mode enabled at the system level on iOS 13 or Android 10, then WhatsApp will automatically switch over. Android 9 users can simply enable a new dark theme in the WhatsApp settings menu. Facebook has tweaked its WhatsApp dark mode to ensure it lowers the brightness of a phone display. “During testing we found that combining pure black and white creates high contrast that can lead to eye fatigue,” explains a WhatsApp spokesperson. “So instead, you’ll notice a special dark gray background and off-white color that lowers the brightness of the screen, cuts down the glare, and improves contrast and readability.” WhatsApp dark mode on iOS. WhatsApp dark mode on Android. The WhatsApp dark theme will be mostly pure black on iOS devices and a darker gray on Android. It’s a long-awaited feature, one that WhatsApp acknowledges in a launch video (above) with lots of people squinting into their phones. The short video, entitled “Hello Darkness,” includes a previously unreleased version of “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon. You can download the latest WhatsApp update from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store to get the new dark mode option. Source: WhatsApp dark mode now available for iOS and Android (The Verge)
  11. WhatsApp working on letting you password-protect Google Drive backups WhatsApp currently allows Android users to backup their chat data to Google Drive. However, while WhatsApp chats stored on your device are encrypted, the backups in Google Drive are not. WhatsApp is possibly looking to change that as hints of the company working on password-protecting Drive backups have surfaced. This will be a major win from a security standpoint as it will ensure that your WhatsApp backups stored in Google Drive are also encrypted. As reported by WABetaInfo, who managed to activate the feature on v2.20.66 of the app, the feature is currently under testing by WhatsApp. Despite getting the relevant options to show up, the feature did not work and simply showed a blank page. Nonetheless, whenever WhatsApp does roll out password-protected backups for Android users it will apparently be located inside WhatsApp Settings -> Chat -> Chat backup. It goes without saying that if you end up forgetting the password of your WhatsApp backup stored in Google Drive, you will not be able to restore it on your device. The feature will possibly first show up in the beta channel for WhatsApp users before a wider rollout. Knowing how slow WhatsApp is in rolling out new features to its app though, expect to wait for quite a bit before this feature makes it to the stable channel. Source: WhatsApp working on letting you password-protect Google Drive backups (Neowin)
  12. WhatsApp dark mode is nearly here, but what else is coming to the messaging app? Coming soon to a group chat near you (Image credit: Facebook; Shutterstock) After a long, long wait, WhatsApp dark mode is now available to beta testers on Android and iOS, and hopefully a full global launch won't be far behind. Soon, everyone will be able to catch up with the group chat in comfort when the lights are low, and maybe even save a little battery power in the process. It's a big step for the messaging app, which now has over two billion active users, but there are lots more changes on the horizon. Here are some of the changes and new features we're expecting to see in the coming months. Some of these are almost certainly on the way, based on hints found in the app's install files, whereas others are speculation based on comments made by WhatsApp staff at conferences and trade shows. However many of them actually arrive on handsets, it's set to be an interesting few months. Ads (a few, at least) Originally, WhatsApp's owner Facebook had intended to start slipping ads into your chats in 2020, but just a few weeks ago it emerged that the team tasked with this job had been disbanded. In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had broken up a team responsible for finding ways to work advertisements into conversations – a move that would have been met with widespread annoyance. That doesn't mean WhatsApp will remain entirely ad-free, thoughl Facebook is still planning to plug ads into the app's Status feature. This works much like Instagram Stories, with posts that are only visible for a short time, but occupy your whole screen. (Image credit: Shutterstock) Shopping If Facebook can't advertise through WhatsApp, it can always earn a crust by taking a cut of goods sold by third-party retailers. In November 2019, the app gained a virtual catalog feature, which lets small retailers display their wares for potential customers to browse. Shoppers can choose what they'd like to buy, then contact the merchant to complete the purchase. This is a handy feature that can help put small retailers in contact with millions of potential customers, but it's still necessary for them to leave the app to actually hand over their money. A future update could follow the example of Instagram, letting companies add a 'checkout' option to posts that allows them to make a purchase directly. (Image credit: Shutterstock) Self-destructing messages Self-destructing messages are another feature that's been in the works a long time, and although we originally thought it might appear at the same time as dark mode, there's no evidence of it in beta yet, so we now expect it'll be a little longer. The idea is that you'll be able to send messages that are deleted automatically after a certain period of time (an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year). This will be a handy privacy feature, allowing you to send potentially sensitive information to your contacts and know that it won't be stored on their phone indefinitely, ready to be discovered if their handset is borrowed or stolen. (Image credit: Shutterstock) An in-app browser Another feature discovered in a WhatsApp beta APK, this is exactly what it sounds like: a web browser that allows you to open links without leaving the messaging app, much like those already used by Twitter and Facebook. It would probably be based on Chrome, and early signs suggest it would warn you if you happen to tap a link to a potentially harmful site. A handy way to protect you from potential scams shared by malicious parties, or just friends who didn't know better. Boomerang videos Another feature that Facebook could copy across from Instagram, boomerang videos would allow you to share short, infinitely looping clips with your contacts. They won't have a profound effect on the way you communicate, but if the reception to Google's recently launched Emoji Kitchen is anything to go by, people love having a new toy that they and their friends can play with. We'd certainly like to give it a try, and some of Instagram's image-optimizing filters would be a nice addition to WhatsApp as well. Maybe later... Source: WhatsApp dark mode is nearly here, but what else is coming to the messaging app? (TechRadar)
  13. Karlston

    WhatsApp now has 2 billion users

    WhatsApp now has 2 billion users And it has no plans to drop end-to-end encryption Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service now has 2 billion users worldwide, the company announced in a blog post today, up from 1.5 billion and 1 billion users in 2018 and 2016, respectively. That compares to 2.5 billion users for Facebook itself, according to The Wall Street Journal, and 1 billion Instagram users (although that number is from June 2018). WhatsApp used the milestone to reiterate the importance of encrypting its users’ messages, a practice that is coming under increasing amounts of pressure from lawmakers around the world. Governments argue that being unable to read people’s messages makes it harder to discover when the messaging app is being used to facilitate terrorism, child exploitation, and other crimes. WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart says that the company has no plans to disable encryption on its service. “For all of human history, people have been able to communicate privately with each other, and we don’t think that should go away in a modern society,” he told The Wall Street Journal. However, the CEO added that WhatsApp will provide metadata when it is useful for an investigation. In the future, Cathcart told the WSJ that the company is working to make the service interoperable with Facebook’s other messaging clients in plans announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year. However, Cathcart admitted this integration may have its limits, with some features that are present on a messaging service like Messenger not translating into WhatsApp. Source: WhatsApp now has 2 billion users (The Verge)
  14. New WhatsApp update for Android users: Check feature WhatsApp has introduced new feature Social media app WhatsApp continues to improve its features to make it more attractive for users. WhatsApp Beta for Android 2.20.31 Update: Social media app WhatsApp continues to improve its features to make it more attractive for users. Among its latest updates, WhatsApp has submitted a new update through Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 2.20.31 for its users on Android, reports Wabetainfo. The new version features new dark solid colours. In case the users don’t find the latest updates on Playstore, they need not worry, as Google may soon roll out the new version, as per the preference of the Facebook-owned messaging app. Source
  15. WhatsApp Bug Allows Malicious Code-Injection, One-Click RCE A high-severity vulnerability could allow cybercriminals to push malware or remotely execute code, using seemingly innocuous messages. Security researchers have identified a JavaScript vulnerability in the WhatsApp desktop platform that could allow cybercriminals to spread malware, phishing or ransomware campaigns through notification messages that appear completely normal to unsuspecting users. And, further investigation shows this could be parlayed into remote code-execution. The desktop platform has more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. The high-severity bug (rated 8.2 on the CVSS severity scale) could impact those that also use WhatsApp for iPhone, if they don’t update their desktop and mobile apps, and if they don’t use newer versions of the Chrome browser. “A vulnerability [CVE-2019-1842] in WhatsApp Desktop versions prior to 0.3.9309 when paired with WhatsApp for iPhone versions prior to 2.20.10 allows cross-site scripting (XSS) and local file reading,” according to the National Vulnerability Database. “Exploiting the vulnerability requires the victim to click a link preview from a specially crafted text message.” More specifically, “The flaws leave users vulnerable to attacks by allowing both the text content and links in website previews to be tampered with to display false content and modified links that point to malicious destinations,” PerimeterX founder and CTO Ido Safruti wrote in a blog post, on Tuesday. Bad actors can inject harmful code or links into “seemingly innocuous exchanges,” according to Safruti, causing unsuspecting users to click on malicious links that appear to them like messages from a friend. “These message modifications would be completely invisible to the untrained eye,” he wrote. “Such attacks would be possible by simply modifying the JavaScript code of a single message prior to delivery to its recipient.” However, the end game is remote code-execution — a potential outcome in some browsers, according to the researchers. Bug Details PerimenterX cybersecurity researcher and JavaScript expert Gal Weizman first discovered vulnerabilities leading to this latest bug in WhatsApp in 2017. He broke down the journey to discovering the latest flaw and its potential for leading to RCE in a separate post. He also said he has been working with Facebook, which owns and oversees WhatsApp, to fix the issues. In his breakdown, Weizman showed how he started by tampering with the JavaScript for the rich preview banners of messages—the ones that include extra information regarding a link that is in the body of the message. An example of a rich preview link in a WhatsApp message. Through the WhatsApp desktop platform, Weizman was able to find the code where messages are formed, tamper with it and then let the app continue in its natural message-sending flow. This bypassed filters and sent the modified message through the app as usual, appearing relatively normal in the user interface. Weizman also found that website previews, displayed when users share web links, can also be tampered with before being shown. In this way, it’s possible to inject links that redirect a user to malicious web pages or that initiate malware downloads. Further, the researcher discovered that he could also make those links look like authentic domain links — i.e., as if they really come from Facebook or other legitimate website. “This works thanks to the role ‘@; plays in the spec of URL,” Weizman wrote. “The purpose of ‘@’ in URLs is to pass username and password to visited domains in the following way: https://USERNAME:[email protected] One can abuse this, as I just did, and replace the username and password with anything else: https://[email protected] and it’ll still work. Firefox is the only browser that warns users, by default, In case this method is used without providing a username and password.” It should be noted that newer versions of Google Chrome have protections against these kinds of JavaScript modifications, according to the research, while “other browsers such as Safari are still wide open to these vulnerabilities.” After successfully exploiting CVE-2019-1842 and performing this code injection to achieve an open redirect, the researcher took it further, to spin the hack into a persistent XSS attack through trial and error. To do so he employed JavaScript URIs (a trick that only works on non-Chromium based browsers, it should be noted): Weizman continued probing the vulnerability to eventually bypass WhatsApp’s Content Security Policy (CSP) rules to enhance the power of the persistent XSS, which he managed to do by using Google’s CSP Evaluator. There, he discovered that the CSP lacked the object-src directive. “Since object-src directive is missing [in the CSP], it means I can use object to load an iframe(ish) to any origin of my choice,” he wrote in the post. “That way I’ll be able to run any external code with no size limits and no problems.” Weizman then showed how he executed malicious code on the web.whatsapp.com domain by using the XSS exploit to load the aforementioned iframe. That opens up the potential for RCE, he said. “I then use the iframe to post a message to the top window with the content of the external code,” he explained. “The top window, where the XSS was executed, receives the message from the iframe, parses the external payload provided by it and executes it in its context (web.whatsapp.com). Win! External payload was successfully fetched and executed in the context of WhatsApp!” The entire attack can be executed with one click from the user on the altered rich preview message. Weizman stressed the importance of an app’s CSP rules, which could have prevented the vulnerability from being exploited in the first place. “If the CSP rules were well configured, the power gained by this XSS would have been much smaller,” he wrote. “Being able to bypass the CSP configuration allows an attacker to steal valuable information from the victim, load external payloads easily, and much more!” WhatsApp’s desktop platform certainly isn’t the only version of the popular messaging service to contain vulnerabilities. Last year alone, researchers found a number of flaws in the more widely used mobile app version of WhatsApp that have allowed for remote code execution, the delivery of spyware, and exposure of personal media files, among others. Source
  16. 5 RECENT WHATSAPP FEATURES YOU COULD’VE MISSED Starting from group chats, to WhatsApp calls, to video conferencing, the app is continuously bringing in new features with its latest updates to keep us glued to it. While most of us are pretty informed when it comes to the recent Whatsapp updates, a few of us are not all that tech-savvy. Hence, there are some lesser-known or rather hidden features of the Facebook-owned app that we all should definitely know about to help us use it more extensively and, of course, securely. Listed below are five such lesser-known features. 1. Dark Mode: WhatsApp's latest Dark mode feature has been talked about for almost a year now. According to a WABetaInfo report, the Dark Mode feature for Whatsapp was finally made available in February this year for both Android and iOS users. WhatsApp users can use the dark theme on their phones right away. The feature is also available for WhatsApp Business users. 2. WhatsApp Pay: The WhatsApp Pay feature is available for beta users in India. As reported, a million beta users are already using the feature in the country though it hasn't been officially launched on the public WhatsApp application. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is planning to roll-out the official WhatsApp Pay feature for all its users in the next six months. 3. Fingerprint lock: WhatsApp recently rolled out one of its niftiest features on the messaging app - the fingerprint lock! This feature was primarily made available to iPhone users who used Face ID or Touch ID to lock and unlock WhatsApp on iOS. Later, the feature was also provided on the Android platform. Prior to this, Android users were using third-party apps for additional security on WhatsApp. Image source: Reuters 4. Typewriter font: Most WhatsApp users are already aware of the bold, italics and strike-through fonts on WhatsApp that can be easily accessed through a couple of commands provided by the user while chatting. However, the typewriter font is something most of us would not really know about. Also, it is considered to be one of the most hard-to-find features on WhatsApp. It needs a little more effort to be used but it is totally worth it if you like the font. So, if you want to surprise your friends, go ahead and type your message as - ``````your message``` and there you go! 5. Pin important chats: Another important WhatsApp feature that may intrigue its users is the Pin important chats feature on the app. Are some messages more important to you than the rest? Well, WhatsApp has got your back! You can now pin your important chats and they will appear at the top of your WhatsApp Chats screen for you to access them instantly. Wondering how to pin your important chats? Android users can simply long-press the chat message of the person/group they want to pin and hit the pin icon for placing the message at the top of the screen. iOS users can do the same by just swiping right on the chat message and selecting the pin option. Source
  17. Flaws in WhatsApp’s desktop app allowed remote access to files Yet another Electron implementation of a “secure” app turns out not to be. Enlarge / Facebook has patched a WhatsApp bug that would let someone read files off your desktop. NurPhoto/Getty Images Facebook has issued a security advisory for a flaw in WhatsApp Desktop that could allow an attacker to use cross-site scripting attacks and read the files on MacOS or Windows PCs by using a specially crafted text message. The attacker could retrieve the contents of files on the computer on the other end of a WhatsApp text message and potentially do other illicit things. The flaw, discovered by researcher Gal Weizman at PerimeterX, is a result of a weakness in how WhatsApp's desktop was implemented using the Electron software framework, which has had significant security issues of its own in the past. Electron allows developers to create cross-platform applications based on Web and browser technologies but is only as secure as the components developers deploy with their Electron apps. Weizman first found cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in WhatsApp in 2017, when he found he could tamper with the metadata of messages, craft bogus preview banners for Web links, and create URLs that could conceal hostile intent within WhatsApp messages. But as he continued his explorations into the WhatsApp client, he found that he could inject JavaScript code into messages that would run within WhatsApp Desktop—and then gain access to the local file system using the JavaScript Fetch API. Enlarge / A fetch() call from a crafted WhatsApp message shows the contents of a file on the desktop that received it. Gal Weizman, PerimeterX All of this was possible because the vulnerable versions of WhatsApp Desktop had been developed using an outdated, known vulnerable version of Google's Chrome browser engine—Chrome 69. More recent versions of the Chromium engine would catch the malicious code. According to Facebook, the vulnerability affects WhatsApp Desktop versions 0.3.9309 and earlier, for users who have paired the desktop app with WhatsApp for iPhone versions prior to 2.20.10. Facebook has shipped new versions of WhatsApp Desktop that use updated browser components. Source: Flaws in WhatsApp’s desktop app allowed remote access to files (Ars Technica)
  18. Spike in mobile banking malware, WhatsApp too vulnerable: Check Point Malware attacks on mobile phones have definitely increased. Last year, we saw an increase of 50 per cent in mobile banking malware, like, Banker. It is as easy to send malware on WhatsApp as it is via other mediums as well. “It is as easy to send malware on WhatsApp as it is via other mediums,” Venugopal N, Director of Security Engineering at Check Point Software Technologies told indianexpress.com in an interaction, adding that in the case of Jeff Bezos, it was a zero vulnerability. He also revealed that there has been an increase of 50 per cent in banking mobile malware attacks overall, including in India, that can potentially steal a user’s financial data and even funds from their bank accounts. Venugopal shared more insights on what exactly happened in the Bezos case, the rise of banking malware and potential threats as well as what users can do to stay safe. Excerpts from the interaction: Has there been an increase in mobile malware? In India, which ones are the most common? Malware attacks on mobile phones have definitely increased. Last year, we saw an increase of 50 per cent in mobile banking malware, like, Banker. According to our threat intelligence sources, more than 35 per cent of organisations in India have been impacted by a mobile attack in 2019. In India, a lot of malware that we see tend to steal photographs, contact info on the mobile phone. And there’s adware that’s the most common type sitting on your phone and generating ads to make money for someone else. There is also malware that are able to launch surveillance on your phone, look at your GPS location and steal your personal data as well but that’s not as prevalent in India. What can banking mobile malware potentially do? Banking malware is widespread and what we have also seen is that its sophistication is increasing. It can potentially steal your financial data if you are using your mobile phone to make payments, steal your credentials and even funds from bank accounts. We are also talking credential theft and surveillance operations which means that somebody can really monitor your GPS location or take control of your microphone on your phone without the user actually knowing something like this is actually happening. Then, of course, we have contact information on our phones that can also be rummaged through this attack. How vulnerable is WhatsApp? What happened in the Jeff Bezos case? It is as easy to send malware on WhatsApp as it is via other mediums as well. But WhatsApp has actively patched a lot of vulnerabilities in the recent past and they are doing it on a regular basis. If you look at WhatsApp, there are about 65 billion messages that are sent on the app every day. Encryption to a large extent helps as it is designed in such a way that only the person to whom you are communicating can read the message and nobody in between. But what we’ve seen in the recent past is the fact that there are often new vulnerabilities that are exploited. That’s what happened in the Jeff Bezos case as well. It was a zero vulnerability. In this particular case, while the message was sent on WhatsApp, it was a video file that was sent and while opening the video file, the malware that was on the file was transmitted on the phone. What are the best security practices that mobile users can adopt? The most important thing is, give the same amount of importance to your mobile phone that you give to your laptop. Have a security solution in place. Do not download apps from third-party app stores. While even the App Store and Play Store also tend to have malware, we know we are cutting down on 50 per cent of the problems if you do not connect to the Internet and download apps. Do not open each and every file, links if you do not know who the sender is. It could be a file on your messaging apps or emails. Finally, you also need to keep in mind what kind of Wi-Fi networks you connect to as man-in-the-middle attacks can be launched via Wi-Fi networks. Avoid connecting to public, free Wi-Fi networks. How common is phishing through emails? People also tend to use their emails on mobiles. So it’s not just browsing websites or downloading apps or getting malware over messaging apps. Phishing attacks through emails would be that somebody could launch a malware to the mailbox and that malware is active via the mailbox to the mobile as well. One aspect is that you tend to open a link that comes in a mail and then you are taken to a particular website and asked to update your information. People are using that data to steal information about you. The most important thing is, try not to open all the mails if you know that some are spam mails. It is more about being educated to do something like this. Source
  19. New Delhi is inching closer to recommending regulations that would require social media companies and instant messaging app providers to help law enforcement agencies identify users who have posted content — or sent messages — it deems questionable, two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. India will submit the suggested change to the local intermediary liability rules to the nation’s apex court later this month. The suggested change, the conditions of which may be altered before it is finalized, currently says that law enforcement agencies will have to produce a court order before exercising such requests, sources who have been briefed on the matter said. But regardless, asking companies to comply with such a requirement would be “devastating” for international social media companies, a New Delhi-based policy advocate told TechCrunch on the condition of anonymity. WhatsApp executives have insisted in the past that they would have to compromise end-to-end encryption of every user to meet such a demand — a move they are willing to fight over. The government did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. A WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment. Sources spoke under the condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to media. Scores of companies and security experts have urged New Delhi in recent months to be transparent about the changes it planned to make to the local intermediary liability guidelines. The Indian government proposed (PDF) a series of changes to its intermediary liability rules in late December 2018 that, if enforced, would require to make significant changes millions of services operated by anyone, from small and medium businesses to large corporate giants such as Facebook and Google. Among the proposed rules, the government said that intermediaries — which it defines as those services or functions that facilitate communication between two or more users and have five million or more users in India — will have to, among other things, be able to trace the originator of questionable content to avoid assuming full liability for their users’ actions. At the heart of the changes lies the “safe harbor” laws that technology companies have so far enjoyed in many nations. The laws, currently applicable in the U.S. under the Communications Decency Act and India under its 2000 Information Technology Act, say that tech platforms won’t be held liable for the things their users share on the platform. Many stakeholders have said in recent months that the Indian government was keeping them in the dark by not sharing the changes it was making to the intermediary liability guidelines. Nobody outside of a small government circle has seen the proposed changes since January of last year, said Shashi Tharoor, one of India’s most influential opposition politicians, in a recent interview with TechCrunch. Software Freedom and Law Centre, a New Delhi-based digital advocacy organization, recommended last week that the government should consider removing the traceability requirement from the proposed changes to the law as it was “technically impossible to satisfy for many online intermediaries.” “No country is demanding such a broad level of traceability as envisaged by the Draft Intermediaries Guidelines,” it added. TechCrunch could not ascertain other changes the government is recommending. Source
  20. Facebook puts plans for WhatsApp ads on hold Back in 2018, WhatsApp said it would be building ads into the Status tab inside the app as a new way to monetize the service. Prior to its acquisition by Facebook, the service actually charged 0.99$ per year to stay active, but the social networking giant was quick to drop that. However, given WhatsApp's reputation for being a privacy-oriented service, the idea of ads being shown didn't sit well with many users. If you're one of those users, there's some good news for you, at least for now. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (via The Verge), the team that was working on building ads for WhatsApp has been terminated sometime in the past few months, and the work done by the team was removed from the app sometime after that. The report does mention that the plan is still to bring ads into the app at some point, but it's unclear when that will happen now. It's also not known exactly why the plans have been put on hold. Users weren't the only ones unhappy with Facebook's direction for WhatsApp, as co-founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum both left the company, in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Koum, specifically, was reported to be leaving the company due to Facebook's intention of weakening encryption in order to use data for advertising purposes. In the months since then, Facebook has often talked about privacy, so maybe the company is considering a better way to monetize the service. Source: Facebook puts plans for WhatsApp ads on hold (Neowin)
  21. WhatsApp in 2020: dark mode, shopping, ads and everything else to expect The good, the bad... and the ads (Image credit: Shutterstock) It's been a busy year for WhatsApp; the long awaited call waiting function finally arrived, letting you see if someone is trying to reach you while you're speaking to someone else, fingerprint unlock gave us a more secure alternative to passwords, and There were a few hiccups along the way, including a bug that let one malicious message delete entire group chats, and a vulnerability that meant it was possible to take control of a user's phone using a specially made MP4. Despite rumours earlier in the year, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram weren't merged into one colossal social app. However, Facebook did court controversy by adding its (somewhat tainted) name to WhatsApp's splash screen, and more significant changes are afoot behind the scenes as the three apps are tied more closely together. We're expecting some big updates for WhatsApp throughout 2020, so here's our guide to everything we expect to see in the coming year. (Image credit: WhatsApp Inc) Dark mode In 2020, we should finally see the official launch of WhatsApp dark mode. It’s surprising it’s taken so long for the messaging app to receive a darker design, but assets tucked away in the install files for the beta release suggest that it’s very nearly ready for public testing. In fact, we may be gifted not one dark mode, but two, with a special option designed specifically for power-saving on devices with AMOLED screens.. It also seems that it’ll be possible to either activate dark mode manually, or have the app switch to it automatically when your phone’s power saving settings are enabled. Self-destructing messages Another feature we’ve been expecting some time is the ability to create messages that will be deleted automatically after a short period of time, for improved privacy. Many rival messaging apps already offer this, and we know that WhatsApp has been working on it for some time. The feature was initially known as ‘Disappearing messages’, but is now being referred to as ‘Delete messages’. Based on evidence from WhatsApp beta install files, it looks like messages can be deleted automatically after an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year. (Image credit: Shutterstock) In-app shopping Another feature we’ve been expecting some time is the ability to create messages that will be deleted automatically after a short period of time, for improved privacy. Many rival messaging apps already offer this, and we know that WhatsApp has been working on it for some time. The feature was initially known as ‘Disappearing messages’, but is now being referred to as ‘Delete messages’. Based on evidence from WhatsApp beta install files, it looks like messages can be deleted automatically after an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year. Ads Yes, they're finally coming. At the 2019 Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, the company presented a slideshow demonstrating how it intends to work ads into WhatsApp. It intends to start inserting them into WhatsApp Status posts in 2020, with full-screen promotions that will appear in between updates from your contacts. It's possible that these ads will tie into the ability for businesses to take payments in WhatsApp, letting them effectively run whole stores there. No support for old phones There's a chance that the date may be pushed back depending on pressure from users, but WhatsApp is due to stop supporting many older Android and iOS devices from February 1 2020. As explained on the app's FAQ page, devices running operating systems older than Android 2.3.7 or iOS 8 will lose access to WhatsApp after that date. Essentially, that means if you have an iPhone 4 or older, or an Android device from before 2011 (such as the Google Nexus One or the original Samsung Galaxy S), it’s unlikely you’ll be able to install WhatsApp from the App Store or Google Play. Reverse image search According to WABetaInfo, which specializes in tearing down pre-release apps in search of interesting hints of new features, one of the new features to arrive in 2020 may be a reverse image search tool that will help you find out where a picture you've received originally came from. It's likely that it's intended to help stem the spread of fake news through the app, much like the 'frequently forwarded' warning that has rolled out to WhatsApp users in India, alerting them if a particular message has been passed along more than five times (probably without any investigation into whether or not it's true). Source: WhatsApp in 2020: dark mode, shopping, ads and everything else to expect (TechRadar)
  22. The issue has been patched, so remember to update your apps. WhatsApp may be one of the most popular messaging apps, but it has had its share of security issues. Security research group Check Point Research today announced the existence of another one, having recently uncovered a defect through which a single malicious user could crash the apps of all members of a group chat. After joining a group chat, a user could edit specific message parameters using the WhatsApp web interface and a browser debugging tool. Then they could create an "unstoppable crash-loop for all group chat members" which could only be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the app. The exploit would prevent members from returning to the group and and also lose all history of the chat. This follows another WhatsApp vulnerability discovered by Check Point last year. The FakesApp vulnerability, as it is known, allowed people to manipulate messages in group chats to make it appear as if other users had said things they had not. This worked by manipulating the parameters used by the WhatsApp web interface to fake the apparent sender of a message. After finding the latest defect, Check Point disclosed the problem to WhatsApp in August as part of a bug bounty program. WhatsApp patched the issue in September with version 2.19.58, so take this as a reminder to keep your apps up to date. Source
  23. WhatsApp will soon pull support for older smartphones Is yours on the list? With more than 1 billion users across 180 countries, WhatsApp is one of the world’s most popular messaging platforms, but come next year, millions of those users could find themselves cut off, with the company announcing today that it will soon stop supporting older Android and iOS smartphones. In a recent change to its FAQ page the popular messaging service has confirmed that devices running operating systems older than Android 2.3.7 or iOS 8 will lose access to WhatsApp from February 1, 2020. In real-world terms, that means if you have an iPhone 4 or older, or an Android device from before 2011 (such as the Google Nexus One or the original Samsung Galaxy S), it’s unlikely you’ll be able to install WhatsApp from the App Store or Google Play. For WhatsApp users who already have the app installed on such a ‘vintage’ device, the company has stated that “some features might stop functioning at any time”, and users will no longer be able to create new accounts or verify existing ones. There’s bad news for anyone hanging onto a Windows Phone handset too, with WhatsApp stating on their website that it will cease support for the platform from December 31, 2019. For users wanting to continue using the service, WhatsApp recommends a device running at least Android 4.0.3, or an iPhone on iOS 9 or up. The largest market for WhatsApp is India, where the messaging platform has recently crossed the 400 million monthly active users milestone. Source: WhatsApp will soon pull support for older smartphones (TechRadar)
  24. Windows 10 Mobile is now just a few weeks from its last cumulative update, and with the end of support, that means that things are about to stop working. One of those things is WhatsApp, which won't work beginning on December 31, as spotted by WindowsArea.de. Right now, the app should still work on Windows 10 Mobile, and even Windows Phone 8.1, an OS that hasn't been supported since mid-2017. In fact, if you're still on Windows Phone 8.1, the Store will be completely shut down beginning on December 16. The Store will continue to work on Windows 10 Mobile after support ends on December 10, but obviously WhatsApp will be removed from it on December 31. WhatsApp is also set to be retired for older versions of Android and iOS, although frankly, it's a bit surprising that these versions even still work. As of February 1, you'll no longer be able to use the service on Android 2.3.7 or iOS 7, both of which are versions that came out well over half a decade ago. Right now, Android 2.3.7 accounts for 0.3% of all Google Play devices, according to Google's most recent usage report. As always, if you want to keep using WhatsApp, you'll need to upgrade to something newer. If you're still on a Windows phone, it's time to move to iOS or Android. Source: WhatsApp for Windows phones will shut down on December 31 (via Neowin)
  25. WhatsApp has fixed a vulnerability involving malicious MP4 video files that could potentially allow an attacker to remotely access messages and files stored in the app. The flaw — identified as CVE-2019-11931 — made it possible for attackers to send a specially crafted MP4 file to remotely execute malicious code on the victim’s device without any intervention. In an advisory posted on its site, Facebook said: However, the presence of the flaw alone doesn’t mean it could be used for nefarious purposes. As is often the case, it can be an entry point for an exploit chain that links together a group of security vulnerabilities, thereby allowing a hacker to penetrate digital protections. When we reached out for a response, a spokesperson for the company said, “WhatsApp is constantly working to improve the security of our service. We make public, reports on potential issues we have fixed consistent with industry best practices. In this instance there is no reason to believe users were impacted.” The bug affected 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. While there’s no indication that the flaw was exploited, the disclosure comes weeks after WhatsApp revealed that at least two dozen academics, lawyers, Dalit activists, and journalists in India were the target of surveillance by threat operators using security firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The social media giant has also sued the Israeli company for exploiting a now-fixed video calling flaw in WhatsApp service to surveil over 1,400 users. In the meantime, it is crucial that you update WhatsApp to the latest version to mitigate the risk of exploit. Source: WhatsApp fixes bug that would have let hackers exploit devices using MP4 files (via The Next Web) p/s: This news is posted under Security & Privacy news instead of Mobile News, as this news highlights the security issue found on older WhatsApp versions for mobile OS'es.
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