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WhatsApp Desktop App Flaw Could Have Let Hackers Access Your Files, Update Right Now

WhatsApp Desktop App Flaw Could Have Let Hackers Access Your Files, Update Right Now

A flaw discovered by a security researcher found a Chromium flaw that could've been exploited to gain access to files on a PC.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: February 6, 2020, 6:26 PM IST
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WhatsApp desktop is a fairly popular app for many that prefer to use the app on desktops and laptops, be it on Mac or on Windows. With millions using the app to communicate regularly, a recent revelation of a rather serious security flaw raised many alarms, and if you are among WhatsApp's desktop app users, it is recommended that you head to the Microsoft Store on Windows and the MacOS App Store on Macs, and update the apps right away. The flaw, found by security researcher Gal Weizmann, reportedly found that a hacker could simply send a malicious link and use WhatsApp's vulnerability to gain elevated access to a user's files on the respective desktops and laptops.

The issue in question is not particular to just Windows or Mac. In fact, the issue actually lies with the Chromium software platform, which is what Google's massively popular Chrome browser is based on. As it so happens, WhatsApp's desktop app happens to be built on the Electron sub-platform, which itself is based on Chromium. In order to streamline the development process, the Facebook-owned WhatsApp seemingly used Electron to port its web app, which acts within browsers, to a desktop app compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms. As a result, WhatsApp's desktop app was also susceptible to the flaw that actually utilised the Chromium vulnerability.

Using this vulnerability, any hacker in question could have gained access to the desktops and laptops, and subsequently access user files, many of which may have held confidential data in the nature of financial documents, private videos and so on. It is not clear whether this flaw also let attackers gain elevated system privilege and affect systems from deep down as well, but given that there is always a fleeting chance for such hacks to occur, the issue is a rather serious one. Thankfully, it has been noted that after Facebook was informed of the flaw, it issued a security patch for both Windows and Mac WhatsApp desktop apps.

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