Jul 24, 2017 | Updated: 07:21 PM EDT

Cyber Police Find Vulnerabilities in Whatsapp & Telegram; Hackers Can Gain Full Access To App's Storage

Mar 20, 2017 04:48 AM EDT

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Two of the most popular messaging apps in the world - WhatsApp and Telegram, have been identified to be vulnerable to hacking attacks through their web versions. The hackers, according to the cybersecurity company Check Point, are able to access millions of user accounts by using the encryption software which initially designed to prevent such malicious acts.

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Both WhatsApp and Telegram have reportedly solved the issue within the course of 24 hours after being notified by Check Point. The Israel-based company said that the vulnerability would have allowed an attacker to send the victim malicious code hidden within an innocent-looking image. When the user clicked on the image, the hackers will be able to gain full access to the victim's storage data (for both WhatsApp and Telegram), which enable them to access the victim's account.

The company also cited "Vault 7" which was exposed by WikiLeaks. More than 8,500 CIA and sensitive documents were leaked by the whistleblowing organization, showing that the government is able to compromise end-to-end encrypted chat data from WhatsApp and Telegram. WhatsApp and Telegram who acknowledged the vulnerability received warnings from Check Point on March 8 and were able to fix the issue on the following day. It is unclear how many users were affected by the problems, according to India Times, although Check Point believes that "hundreds of millions" of users for both apps could have had.  

Both WhatsApp and Telegram use end-to-end message encryption as a data security measure. According to Check Point, this same end-to-end encryption was also the source of this vulnerability. Because messages were encrypted, the messaging apps were blind to the content - making it impossible to prevent malicious content from being sent.

WhatsApp has over 1 billion users worldwide, making it the most widely used instant messaging. Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app that has over 100 million monthly active users. 

 


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