New WhatsApp bug crashes group chats, deletes chat history forever

WhatsApp is one of the most widely used chat apps but this popularity does not save the platform from bugs and other privacy-related issues that are common these days especially on the Android platform.

WhatsApp is one of the most widely used chat apps but this popularity does not save the platform from bugs and other privacy-related issues that are common these days especially on the Android platform. The cybersecurity researchers at Check Point have spotted a vulnerability in the app which can cause the app to crash on multiple phones in a shared group.

The researchers found that this vulnerability could lead to app crash in loop forcing users to reinstall the app but losing the chat history forever. WhatsApp allows a maximum of 256 members in a group chat so sliding in amidst such a large number of group members won’t be a very tough task. The vulnerability that has been fixed by the chat company now could have been exploited by the malicious hackers through the use of WhatsApp Web and a debugging tool like Chrome’s DevTools to gain access to a specific message parameter and lead to crashing of the app in the loop.

In WhatsApp there are many important groups with valuable content. If an attacker uses this technique and crashes one of these groups all chat history will be gone and further communication would be impossible. The impact of this vulnerability is potentially tremendous, since WhatsApp is the main communication service for many people. Thus, the bug compromises the availability of the app which is a crucial for our daily activities. In order to recover from the issue, the users have to uninstall WhatsApp, install it again and remove the group which contains the malicious payload,” said the security researchers in the report.

The bug has now been fixed. The company issued a fix to resolve the issue, which is available since WhatsApp version number 2.19.58.

“Because WhatsApp is one of the world’s leading communication channels for consumers, businesses and government agencies, the ability to stop people using WhatsApp and delete valuable information from group chats is a powerful weapon for bad actors,” said Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s Head of Product Vulnerability Research.

“All WhatsApp users should update to the latest version of the app to protect themselves against this possible attack,” Vanunu added.

On an average, 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp per day by over 1.5 Billion users globally.

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One comment

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