A recent security breach is allowing hackers to inject surveillance tech into WhatsApp users' phones via the app's call function.
The way in which we communicate with each other has changed drastically over the past decade or so. Good old fashioned letters and phone calls were replaced with emails and texts. In turn, emails and texts have been replaced with apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Honestly, if our cellphone rings nowadays, we just stare at it and panic.
As great as advances in communication technology undoubtedly are, our privacy is at a greater risk than ever. In the past, if people wanted to know what we were saying to one another they had to tap our phones. Nowadays, they can just hack into our smartphones, something that is worryingly easier than most of us realize.
The latest of those hacks has reportedly happened this week, according to the Financial Times. Hackers have been using WhatsApp's call function to inject users' phones with surveillance tech. The most worrying thing of all is that people don't even need to answer the call for the software to be injected into their phone. The hackers call it and whether you answer that call or not, the tech will have been successfully placed.
If you are one of the 1.5 billion people who use WhatsApp (yes, billion) don't panic. There is already an update for the app that has eliminated the threat. In fact, since the update was made available earlier this week, chances are you have already downloaded it, or your phone will have done so on your behalf depending on your settings. If there is a WhatsApp update waiting in your app store, we would urge you to download it immediately.
Another reason why you shouldn't necessarily panic, unless you are worried that you may have received one of these calls, is that reports suggest those using the surveillance tech were targeting a particular group of people. Apparently, the security threat was specifically being aimed at human rights campaigners, including a UK-based lawyer. Either way, just make sure you have downloaded the latest update and you have nothing to worry about.