Hackers Might Access Your WhatsApp Media - Here's What You Should Do!

A cyber security team at Symantec have recently found a new bug in WhatsApp that might allow hackers to access your media files without letting you know. This is not exactly a bug but a feature/function that can be easily exploited.

Whatsapp android
(Source: Pixabay - Free for commercial use)

Researchers at Symantec have called this flaw, Media File Jacking and they explained how turning on some features of the application might provide a path to unwanted visitors. The flaw is explained below in complete detail. 

Media File Jacking

To understand this concept imagine yourself using WhatsApp. Your friend sends you a screenshot of his bank account number and requests you to pay him a $100. You agree to send him this amount but when you do, he does not receive it and the amount gets deducted from your bank. Now the question is that how can all this be possible?

When a user receives an image or video from someone on WhatsApp, there's a slight delay before the received image/video is downloaded and stored in your smartphone's memory. This delay is an opportunity for hackers to make changes to the media file being sent. 

During this time period, content on the image can be changed easily by using a malware program. So when in the above mentioned example, your friend sent you a screenshot of his bank account number, while the image was being downloaded, someone changed the account number in the image. 

This is how anyone can exploit this feature on WhatsApp and privacy of users can get invaded. Changing numbers is not the only thing that can happen, in a YouTube video, it is explained how faces in an image can be replaced in a similar way. This means that your personal photos can be compromised and you might get in trouble. 


The researchers also mentioned the chat encryption feature of WhatsApp which makes file sharing safer between two devices but they also stated how any application itself is not immune to hacking. Even with the encryption feature, WhatsApp chats are not as safe as they seem to be. 

Before going public with their findings, Symantec tried to contact WhatsApp in order to bring this issue under limelight but they did not get any response. As a result, information was made available online by the cyber security firm.

How to Save Yourself?

The main question here is that how can one protect his/her privacy. It's quite simple. After reading this article you might not want to share personal files on WhatsApp but that is not the solution. WhatsApp is an awesome application and not using it would be unfair. 

All you have to do is, go to settings and find the option that says Media Visibilty. Turn off this option and you're safe. By doing this, all files shared between any two devices on WhatsApp will stay within the application and away from your phone's memory. This means that hackers would not get a chance to interfere and your files will be safe. 

The issue has been highlighted and WhatsApp has been notified by Symantec but till now no one has responded to the issue. We expect them to take immediate action as soon as they can in order to make sure that the application is 100% safe to use. 

This was all for today. I hope this article was valuable for you. Spread awareness by sharing it with your friends and family and don't forget to subscribe! 

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