WhatsApp Fraud

Over the past couple of months, a newly created tool has been developed and used by malicious actors to exploit a recently discovered WhatsApp vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows the malicious actor to manipulate quotes and images WhatsApp to say whatever they desire and even attribute them to a completely different user.

This has been used to carry out numerous targeted fraud-based attacks, this has hit countries such as India especially hard, being WhatsApp’s biggest market with over 200,000,000 users. The spreading of false information via fraudulent WhatsApp messages has caused outbursts of violence, mob wars and even numerous deaths.

In attempt to reduce the spreading of, and limit the damage caused by fraudulent messages crafted using this vulnerability, WhatsApp have put restrictions on users preventing them from forwarding a single message any more than 5 times as well as removing the “quick forward button” usually located next to images/videos located in chat.

As well as putting such restrictions in place, WhatsApp have also patched this vulnerability in their latest version of the application. If your application is running on any of the above versions (or earlier), you should update the application immediately.

The affected versions are as follows:

* WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51

* WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15

* WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134

* WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51

* WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44

* WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348

For a more technical and detailed insight into the nature of the vulnerability, you may wish to refer to the CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) dictionary entry: CVE-2019-3568.