Vulnerabilities / Threats
3/15/2017
10:00 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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WhatsApp, Telegram Flaw Gives Hackers Full Account Access

A new vulnerability discovered in popular messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram lets hackers assume complete control over accounts.

A newly discovered vulnerability within WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web, online platforms for two popular messaging services, lets cybercriminals fully take over user accounts and access conversations, photos, videos, contact lists, and other shared files.

The flaw lets hackers send their victims malicious code disguised within a seemingly innocent picture. When victims click the image, attackers have access to all of their storage data and can spread the harmful file through users' contact lists.

Both WhatsApp and Telegram employ end-to-end message encryption so only the participants in a conversation can view messages. This data security measure was the source of the vulnerability. Because content was encrypted on the sender's side, the two platforms did not see the content and couldn't prevent harmful files from being sent.

Check Point researchers revealed the vulnerability and disclosed its findings to the WhatsApp and Telegram security teams on March 8. Now content will be checked pre-encryption to stop malicious files from being sent.

Read more here.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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Maisons pierre
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Maisons pierre,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/15/2017 | 12:51:24 PM
Re: End user choice
I agree with VP208, the encryption is end to end in Whatsapp.
VP208
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VP208,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/15/2017 | 11:31:42 AM
End user choice
Whatsapp provided end to end encryption for its users and this vulnerability exploits that very feature by exploiting the weakest link: the end users. Now that whatsapp wants to pre-check content for maliciousness prior to encryption, end users will need to trust that the pre-check environment is not compromised. What about giving a choice to the end-user: either have whatsapp pre-check content to provide assurance on content being shared or choose to retain end-to-end encryption for greater privacy and ownership of responsibility?
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