Researchers at Check Point cyber security firm have discovered a WhatsApp bug that allows people to wreak havoc in group chats and crash the messaging app for all members.
The firm say the issue means that people can send a destructive group chat message that causes a swift and complete crash of the entire WhatsApp application for all members of the group.
The crash bug is so severe that anyone affected is forced to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp on their phone or device in order to use it again. Once reinstalled, the user would be unable to return to the group chat or access any of the group’s chat history.
WhatsApp was informed of the vulnerability and issued a fix, though Check Point warned that users must update the app to the latest version in order to protect themselves against the attack.
“The ability to stop people being able to use WhatsApp and to delete valuable information from group chat histories is a powerful weapon,” Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s head of product vulnerability research, told The Independent.
Recently, WhatsApp rushed to roll out a security fix after concerns were raised hackers could inject surveillance software on to phones via the call function. The app discovered a vulnerability that allowed attackers to install malicious code on iPhones and Android phones by ringing up a target device.
The code could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones and a log of the call often disappeared, the Financial Times reported. The Irish data watchdog probed the WhatsApp attack to determine if European users have been affected by the breach.