WhatsApp users urged to update app as soon as possible due to cyber attack fears

(Image credit: Yuri Arcurs peopleimages.com)

WhatsApp users are being urged to update their app as soon as possible, after cyber criminals have figured out how to break into phones just by sending users a GIF.

Once they break into your phone, they’re able to steal files and messages from victims. As a result of this, users have been warned to update their app as soon as possible.

Facebook, who own WhatsApp, announced they have released a fix for the app, which will prevent hackers from breaking into phones.

To get the latest version of WhatsApp, head to Google Play or Apple’s App store and download the most recent version.

An anonymous cyber researcher who uses the name ‘Awakened’ spotted the problem, and was quick to alert people about this on their blog.

In their post, they said, ‘WhatsApp users, please do update to latest WhatsApp version to stay safe from this bug.’

Their post also demonstrated how potential hackers are able to bypass the apps security and what potential victims should look out for should it occur.


Credit: Getty Images

They said that they’d informed Facebook - who own WhatsApp - about the issue, and developers have now patched it to protect users and their private data.

Explaining how the hack works, Awakened said that all an attacker had to do was send a GIF to an unsuspecting WhatsApp user.

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Then, when the victim opens up the gallery, the attacker has access to all sorts of personal information including messages, files, photos, videos and anything else the user may have on the app.

The latest version is 2.19.292, so if yours is an older version ensure you update your app as soon as you can to avoid being a potential victim.

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You can check which version is the most recent by heading to your device’s app store and clicking on the ‘updates’ section.

Speaking to The Sun, a spokesperson said, “This issue was reported and quickly addressed. We have no reason to believe this affected any users though of course we are always working to provide the latest security features to our users.”

So whilst no one has been affected as yet, it's still a good idea to ensure you're up to date just in case.

Lucy Buglass
Digital Writer

Lucy Buglass is a Digital Writer for What's on TV, Goodto.com, and Woman&Home. After finishing her degree in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University she moved to London to begin her career. She's passionate about entertainment and spends most of her free time watching Netflix series, BBC dramas, or going to the cinema to catch the latest film releases.