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WhatsApp Vulnerability what you need to know

You’re likely to be one of WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion monthly active users who use it on a daily basis to keep in touch  to keep in touch with family and friends and for sports/activities groups. 

In our Schools Online Safety workshops we talk about the importance of keeping your apps and software updates as up to date as possible – by hitting the update option as soon as they provide releases on new updates. 

In most cases, the updates are simple little fixes to the application or a new feature being rolled out. Though sometimes these are very important security updates released to fix some form of vulnerability or breach within the software of the app itself.

According to an article on Sky News ‘WhatsApp has confirmed that a vulnerability in its app could allow hackers to take control of victims’ phones just by sending an unanswered voice call’. The spyware in question has previously only been used by intelligence agencies for surveillance, to prevent cyber attacks and for fighting ‘crime and terror’.  

The article goes on further to explain that ‘the attack was only used against a select number of users’. This is according to WhatsApp. 

This particular breech was discovered in early May. According to Whatsapp it has since been fixed. But this does go to show yet again the importance of users being vigilant and careful about clicking on links – within suspicious messages or from answering voice calls from suspicious numbers.  

I’m a WhatsApp user. What can I do?

Firstly, don’t panic. As we mentioned,  getting into the habit of running your App and software updates once they become available is key.  If you notice a new updates for an app you use be sure to update it. Updates are important for the performance and importantly the security of your information on the app for both you and the provider. 

Also regularly checking your own phone’s operating system updates and ensuring these are also up to date is crucial on both Ios and Android. They’ll regularly roll out security updates. Ensure these are actioned and your devices are using the most up-to-date version of the software.  

How do I check if I’m using the latest version of an App – or it’s up to date?

To check and see if you have any pending updates for apps on your device follow these steps:

On iOS

  • Open the App store
  • Tab on Updates
  • Select WhatsApp
  • Tap update

On Android

  • Open the Google Play store
  • Tap on the 3 lines in the upper corner
  • Select ‘My Apps & Games’
  • Tap on WhatsApp and update

Keep safe online,


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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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