Tech companies are trusted with keeping their users’ information safe and out of cybercriminals’ and advertisers’ hands alike. However, countless major mobile apps, social media platforms, websites, email hosting service providers, and other tech industry service providers have been found guilty of being hacked by cybercriminals over the past 30 years, a period starting with the advent of the Internet by Tim Berners-Lee.
WhatsApp, according to recent reports and official WhatsApp communications shared with the public two days ago, on Monday, May 13, 2019, recently found itself on the receiving end of a cyberattack.
The cybersecurity breach made an unnamed number of WhatsApp users potentially vulnerable to malware that had been downloaded onto users’ mobile devices through updates to the WhatsApp mobile app.
All modern mobile operating systems urge their users to update their mobile apps and operating systems as soon as possible. Two primary reasons why mobile operating systems remind their users of such are because doing so improves the average experience that users have with their phones and – more importantly – to beef up cybersecurity protections against the latest and most clever potential digital threats.
WhatsApp did not indicate the alleged perpetrator of the hack in its press communications on Monday.
WhatsApp is one of the world’s most popular mobile apps used to communicate with other mobile users. There are currently more than 1.5 billion users of WhatsApp, who live in all corners of the world.
The WhatsApp mobile app’s security flaw, which has since been patched, affected users of both Android and iOS, the two major mobile operating systems that are in use today, devices.
Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, formally published a company security advisory to inform the public about the detected vulnerability. The security advisory informed users about what versions of the WhatsApp mobile app made users liable to being hacked as a result of the malware downloaded to WhatsApp users’ devices.
According to The Financial Times, the malware, which falls under the class of spyware, was initially created by the NSO Group, a cybersecurity surveillance company located in Israel. Although the spyware was created by the NSO Group, it’s not likely that the firm carried out the attack itself.
The NSO Group’s spyware was initially formed with the goal of perpetrating alleged criminal and terrorist organizations’ digital networks, per a quote from a spokesperson for the NSO Group in an interview with USA Today yesterday.