A WhatsApp virus may have infected 1.5 billion iPhones and stolen users' personal information. How to defend yourself
The WhatsApp chats of iPhone users are in danger. Or at least that's what Google's IT security experts say, who in the previous days have discovered the presence of malicious websites capable of hacking iPhones and installing viruses that can compromise the smartphone and steal users' personal information.
Experts from Google's Project Zero team had raised the alarm by talking about more than 1.5 billion devices in danger and that the vulnerabilities discovered affected all iPhones that had an iOS version between 10 and 12. It had not emerged, however, the most worrying fact: to be in danger, in fact, are not only the personal data of users, but also the personal chats on WhatsApp and Telegram. The confirmation comes from Ian Beer, Google researcher, who has monitored the operation of hacker attacks that affect the iPhone. The virus installed by hackers is able to access all the device's databases, even those of applications that in theory use end-to-end encryption to protect users' conversations.
Accessing these databases, the researcher discovered that they contained the unencrypted messages exchanged on WhatsApp by users and it was possible to read the content and the recipient of the message. But that's not all. The malware was able to spy on Gmail, messages exchanged on Hangouts and Telegram, copy contacts saved in the address book, images and know at any time the exact location of the person thanks to GPS. And the virus could also save the passwords of Wi-Fi networks saved on the smartphone.
The WhatsApp chats are in danger
The Google computer expert, in an interview with Forbes magazine, said that the virus infecting the iPhone is able to transfer all the stolen information to an external server in no time. What does this mean? That WhatsApp conversations of thousands of users could have ended up in the hands of hackers who could use them for illicit purposes or to obtain personal data and resell them on the dark web.
Android smartphones are in danger
According to cybersecurity researchers, malicious websites can hack and install viruses not only on iPhones, but also on Android devices. If the news is confirmed, the number of smartphones under attack would soar. As well as the number of WhatsApp chats that may have ended up in the hands of criminals. We are facing one of the biggest hacker attacks ever in history. We just need to figure out the real number of infected devices.
How to defend your iPhone from hacker attack
Google researchers discovered the malicious sites last February and immediately alerted Apple, which released a patch to fix the problem. If you have an iPhone with an iOS version between 10 and 12, update it to the latest available version (12.4.1) immediately.