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It May be Dangerous to Send GIFs on WhatsApp From Your Android Phone


Last Updated: October 04, 2019, 09:00 IST

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

A hacker can take control of the phone’s data by running a malicious code on the device.

WhatsApp is in the news for all the wrong reasons, after a security researcher has found a bug that lets hackers take get access to your phone. Android phones, to be specific. The vulnerability is specific to how WhatsApp handles GIF image files, which WhatsApp users send with aplomb.

This vulnerability can be used by a hacker by simply pushing a GIF file with the malicious code to a victim’s Android phone, either via a message or email or even a third-part app. When the WhatsApp user downloads the GIF on their Android phone and then opens it again within the gallery on WhatsApp, the code also allows a ‘remote code execution’ attack runs on the phone allowing the hacker to gain access to the WhatsApp user’s Android phone. This has been discovered by a security researcher called Awakened, a self-described technologist and an information security enthusiast. “WhatsApp users, please do update to latest WhatsApp version (2.19.244 or above) to stay safe from this bug,” the post says.

WhatsApp told The Next Web in a statement that there were no reports of any attacks on users exploiting this vulnerability, and that “this issue affects the user on the sender side, meaning the issue could in theory occur when the user takes action to send a GIF. The issue would impact their own device.”