Quickly applying software updates (patching) to mitigate security vulnerabilities is a cornerstone of both a home and business security strategy. So it was interesting to see how the mainstream news media reported the disclosure of three separate ‘major’ security vulnerabilities this week, within WhatsApp, Microsoft Windows and Intel Processors.
The WhatsApp security flaw by far received the most the attention of the media and was very much the leading frontpage news story for a day. The WhatsApp vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568) impacts both iPhone and Android versions of the mobile messaging app, allowing an attacker to install surveillance software (spyware), which access can the smartphone’s call logs, text messages, and can covertly enable and record the camera and microphone.
From a technical perspective, the vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568) can be exploited with a buffer overflow attack against WhatsApp’s VOIP stack, this makes remote code execution possible by sending specially crafted SRTCP packets to the phone, a sophisticated exploit.
Should you be concerned?
WhatsApp said it believed only a “select number of users were targeted through this vulnerability by an advanced cyber actor.” According to the FT, that threat actor was an Israeli company called ‘NSO Group’. NSO developed the exploit to sell on, NSO advertises it sells products to government agencies “for fighting terrorism and aiding law enforcement investigations“. NSO products (aka “spyware”) is known to be used by government agencies in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
So, if you are one of the 1.5 billion WhatsApp users, not a middle-east political activist or a Mexican criminal, you probably shouldn’t too worry about your smartphone being exploited in the past. If you were exploited, there would be signs, with unusual cliches and activity on your phone. Despite the low risk at present, all WhatsApp users should quickly update their WhatsApp app before criminals attempt to ‘copycat’ NSO Group exploitation.
How to Prevent
Update the WhatsApp app.
- Open the Apple AppStore App
- Search for WhatsApp Messenger
- Tap ‘Update’ and the latest version of WhatsApp will be installed
- App Version 2.19.51 and above fixes the vulnerability
- Open Google Play Store
- Tap the menu in the top left corner
- Go to “My Apps & Games”
- Tap ‘Update’ next to WhatsApp Messenger and the latest version of WhatsApp will be installed
- App Version 2.19.134 and above fixes the vulnerability
Microsoft Worm Vulnerability CVE-2019-0708
Apply the latest Microsoft Windows Update. Microsoft has said anti-virus products will not provide any protection against the exploitation of this vulnerability, therefore applying the Microsoft May 2019 Security Update, as released on Tuesday 14th May 2019, is the only way to be certain of protecting against the exploitation of this critical vulnerability
Ensure automatic updates is always kept switched on. Windows by default should attempt to download and install the latest security updates, typically you will be prompted to apply the update and accept a reboot, do this without delay.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from IT Security Expert Blog authored by SecurityExpert. Read the original post at: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/securityexpert/~3/lXHSTxLbt70/whatsapp-microsoft-and-intel-chip.html