WhatsApp has issued a fix to what’s called a “memory corruption bug” within the messaging app, that could potentially allow hackers to compromise and crash the application via a simple video-call.
About The Bug
The bug resided in the app’s “non-WebRTC video conferencing implementation”, or basically the way the app treated video calling with the phone. The bug was first found by Natalie Silvanovich of Google’s Project Zero security team in late August. The research team is known for finding loopholes in popular applications.
When affected by the bug, the app can crash if someone sends the recipient a “malformed RTP packet”. This usually happens via the calling service in WhatsApp. The bug affected both the Android and iPhone users, however, the web version is not affected as it handles videos differently.
So far, no user who has potentially been affected by the bug has been identified. Although, the bug is not the most serious we’ve seen, the sheer scale of WhatsApp’s reach can make it a potentially large problem. The app is currently used by 1.2 billion people across the world and was still the most-downloaded app across Android and iPhone last quarter.
The update was released earlier this month for both Android and iPhone clients of WhatsApp, meaning users don’t have to worry in the least, granted they’ve updated their apps.
The bad rep is hardly something WhatsApp needs right now, as it is reportedly in the process of monetizing the app with ads in its Status feature. The ads will likely appear in WhatsApp beta soon and are expected to hit both Android and iOS platforms.