Home Articles How MP4 File Can Be a Security Threat to WhatsApp Messenger

How MP4 File Can Be a Security Threat to WhatsApp Messenger

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A security threat was reported in WhatsApp which could be exploited by a remote attacker using MP4 file. Read on to know more…

A security threat was reported in WhatsApp which could be exploited by a remote attacker using MP4 file. An advisory by the Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) said that “A vulnerability has been reported in WhatsApp which could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target system,”. This security advisory comes weeks after a global snooping scandal on WhatsApp came to light.

Security Threat
WhatsApp has been hit by a security vulnerability that allows hackers to target victims using a specially-crafted MP4 file. “A vulnerability has been reported in WhatsApp which could be exploited by a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target system,” an advisory by the CERT-In said. CERT-In has classified the severity of the security threat as “high”. The security advisory suggested “upgrading” to the latest version of WhatsApp to combat or tide over the problem.

“A stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability exists in WhatsApp due to improper parsing of elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file. A remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to the target system.” CERT-In said.

Working Mechanism
WhatsApp has been hit by a security flaw, but, it only affects older versions of the app for Android and iPhone. The new vulnerability is found in Android versions prior to 2.19.274; iOS versions prior to 2.19.100; Enterprise Client versions prior to 2.25.3; Business for Android versions prior to 2.19.104; Business for iOS versions prior to 2.19.100; and Windows Phone versions before and including 2.18.368.

“The RCE vulnerability allows hackers to perform the attack remotely without any sort of authentication,” claimed the report. The critical WhatsApp vulnerability can be tracked as CVE-2019-11931.

The latest WhatsApp security vulnerability gives hackers a cyber-attack vector. If someone has sent you an MP4 file on WhatsApp, you should guard against downloading it as hackers may use a critical vulnerability in the Facebook-owned app to execute snooping attack on both Android and iOS devices. The specially-crafted MP4 file triggers the remote code execution (RCE) and denial of service (DoS) cyber-attack. “The issue was present in parsing the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file and could result in a DoS or RCE.”

Damage Control
Facebook has issued an advisory, saying “A stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to a WhatsApp user.” Users are recommended to update their WhatsApp app to avoid being targeted.

Earlier Threat
Earlier this month, WhatsApp revealed that more than 120 journalists and activists in India have been the target of surveillance by operators using the Israeli spyware Pegasus. WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook, which claimed the snooping took place in April ahead of the national election, has sued NSO, the Israeli firm that made the software. The social media giant claimed that Pegasus was used to target users not just in India, but across 20 nations. WhatsApp had said that it had informed Indian authorities in May about the privacy and that it worked quickly to resolve it.

Indian Government sources, however, denied the claims, saying WhatsApp only informed them about the vulnerability of their app in “technical jargon” in May and that the company made no mention of Pegasus spyware and Indian users being targeted.

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