Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Monday disclosed the recent fix of a VoIP-related vulnerability that allowed nefarious parties to remotely install spyware on both iOS and Android handsets.
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Discovered in early May, the now-patched bug in the app's audio call feature allowed hackers to deliver a spyware payload to target devices, a process that worked even if the WhatsApp call recipient failed to answer.
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It took WhatsApp less than ten days to patch the security hole following its discovery, reports TechCrunch. How long the vulnerability existed without detection is unknown, but the company confirmed hackers took advantage of the window to install an unknown number of malicious payloads.
Although WhatsApp did not name a specific company or spyware variant associated with the security breach, a statement on the matter points to Israeli vendor NSO Group.
'This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,' WhatsApp said.
NSO develops and markets a well-known and notoriously effective piece of spyware called Pegasus. Typically reserved for government buyers, Pegasus is often used by law enforcement agencies to gain wide access to key device functions and data stores.
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Apple has in the past attempted to patch flaws in iOS and macOS leveraged by Pegasus, but NSO continues to uncover and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities in iOS to keep its product functional.
WhatsApp believes only a small number of users were impacted by attacks, noting only advanced and highly motivated actors would be capable of leveraging the bug, the report said.
The company alerted the U.S. Justice Department and various human rights organizations after discovering the vulnerability, and urges users to update their respective app versions to protect against future attacks.
'WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices,' WhatsApp said in a statement.
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Whatsender Plugin is the “lite” version of Whatsender that can work on any computer (even macOS and Linux computers) without downloading any software. Just install a small extension on Google Chrome browser and you can send Whatsapp messages in a single or BULK way (even to contacts not saved in your address book).
Whatsender Chrome Extension FEATURES:
- Works on any computer (even Mac OS and Linux systems)
- Allows sending single or Bulk Whatsapp messages
- Upload contacts from CSV files or copy and paste recipient numbers
- Allows you to use up to 2 variables to personalize the message
- Simulate sending via Whatsapp Web to reduce ban risk
HOW TO USE WHATSENDER PLUGIN:
Note #1: Unlike the software version of Whatsender, this plugin does not currently allow you to attach and send images and / or videos, and does not support the multiple accounts feature.
Note #2: This plugin allows you to communicate with people that expect to receive your messages (e.g. customers, students, patients, etc .), and is not a spam tool, so we are not responsible for bans.
HOW TO INSTALL Whatsender PLUGIN
STEP 1. First download on your computer (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) the following .zip file which contains the Whatsender plugin:
STEP 2. After downloading the .zip file, unzip and extract from it the “WhatsExtensionFree” folder on your computer
STEP 3. To install this extension open GOOGLE CHROME browser on your computer and in the address bar write: chrome://extensions and click enter
STEP 4. The “Extensions” management screen Chrome will open. Now click and activate the DEVELOPER MODE option at the top right as highlighted in point “2” in the following figure:
STEP 5.Click on “Load unpacked” at the top and select the “WhatsExtensionFree” folder or drag it directly from your computer into the Chrome window, as shown in the following figure
STEP 6.The installation will take place automatically and the Whatsender icon (“W“) will appear at the top right. In addition, the Whatsapp Web window will open with the QR code that you will have to scan from the Whatsapp app on your mobile phone
To scan the QR code, open WhatsApp on your phone and:
> On Android: go to the Chat screen> Menu> Web WhatsApp.
> On iPhone: go to Settings> WhatsApp Web.
> On Windows Phone: go to Menu> WhatsApp Web
Scan the QR Code by bringing the phone close to the comptuer screen
STEP 7.After scanning the QR code, click on the “W” icon of the Whatsender extension and you will see the following main window
HOW TO SEND SINGLE/BULK MESSAGES WITH WHATSENDER PLUGIN
From the SINGLE MESSAGE tab you can send single messages by typing the recipient’s phone number (with country code before number) and writing the message to be sent. Finally, by clicking on SEND the message will be sent immediately.
The text of the message can also be formatted using bold, italic or strikethrough. To obtain these three types of formatting, simply enter the following characters before and after the word:
- Bold (write asterisk before and after the word): example *text*
- Italic (insert _ before and after the word): example _text
- Strikethrough (insert ~ before and after the word): example ~ text ~
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From the BULK MESSAGE tab you can enter a list of phone numbers to send a bulk message. It is also possible to upload a CSV file containing all the recipient numbers (with international prefix). Also in this case, after writing the message you can send to everyone by clicking on SEND (button is not enabled in the FREE version of the extension). Click on PRO VERSION link to receive the full version of this plugin (you will received the new .zip file via email)
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Whatsender Plugin also supports the use of variables: you can enter up to 2 variables to personalize the message. Mac add app to share menu. As you can see in the figure below, in addition to the phone number you can add two more information (eg the name and another variable, separated by commas) and in the message you can automatically recall these variables using the parameters “Value 1” and “Value 2 “.
Instead of @valueOne and @valueTwo, the recipient will automatically see his name and the other variable you have set for him.
Customizing the message with these variables, in addition to being more effective (for marketing actions) also allows you to reduce the risk of ban by Whatsapp.
That’s all! As you can see, Whatsapp Plugin is very simple to use. If you want to request the full version of this extension and the 1-year license, click on the following link:
HOW TO REDUCE BAN RISK BY WHATSAPP?
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To avoid the blocking of numbers
- Send to known contacts only. Don’t use for spaming.
- Don’t send from your personal number.
- Don’t send to more than 50 people in one shot.
- Don’t send more than 500 people in a single day
- We are not responsibe for any account block.
This Chrome plugin is not endorsed or certified WhatsApp Inc. This is an unofficial enhancement for WhatsApp Web.