The popular messaging app WhatsApp was recently hit by a massive bug called Pegasus, purportedly executed by an Israeli spy firm called the NSO Group.
The nefarious bug attacks its victims through a simple phone call, which the user doesn’t even need to answer in order to be infiltrated. The call installs spyware and takes control of the infected phone whether you answer the call or not. Pegasus calls don’t leave a trace in WhatsApp’s call log, so you can’t be sure whether your phone has been harmed or not.
The spyware affects all brands of phone and can be extremely destructive. It effectively takes over the phone and can access any data and personal information that may be on there. The WhatsApp hack seems to have mostly been targeting high-profile activists (including a researcher with Amnesty International and a human rights lawyer in the UK) which means that the average user is probably not effected, but the definite number of people effected is not yet known and there is massive potential for anyone on WhatsApp to be infiltrated so make sure that you take appropriate steps to keep yourself and your information safe.
So, how do you stay safe? Of course, you can uninstall WhatsApp completely, but you can stay safe and keep the app as well. Simply make sure that you install the latest updated version of WhatsApp. It includes a patch that will prevent the spyware from infecting you and allow you to keep using the app as usual. Delete the old app and make sure that you download the newest version that came out on May 13th. Be sure to also keep your phone’s operating system up to date because those updates also help protect against new spyware and keep your data secure.