Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has asked its 1.5 billion users to upgrade the app to is latest version after the company discovered a vulnerability wherein a spyware gets installed on users' phones via the app's phone call function.
The spyware is said to be developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group. The vulnerability works on an exposed bug in WhatsApp's voice call feature that allows the spyware to be installed on the device whether the call was answered or not.
The bug was identified last month and the company says it has now fixed it.
The company has requested its users worldwide to upgrade the app as well their operating systems to protect against other potential spywares that could expose information stored on mobile devices. According to the media reports, NSO Group works for the Israeli government and infects targets of investigations to gain access to various aspects of their devices.
A report in Financial Times quoted NSO as saying -- under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
NSO further said that the company sells its Pegasus spyware to state intelligence agencies and others. Pegasus spyware can collect intimate data from a target device.
WhatsApp says that only a small number of users were targeted.
To update your WhatsApp, simply go to the Play Store for an Android device or on the App Store for iOS users. If the app shows only the uninstall or open option, don’t worry your app has already been updated.