WhatsApp, flaw in group chats destroys app and history

Check Point researchers have discovered a dangerous security flaw that crashes WhatsApp: here's what's happening

Imagine you're participating in a group chat on WhatsApp when, all of a sudden, the app crashes to all group members, all content already shared is unrecoverable, the app no longer starts and you have to reinstall it from scratch. But even after reinstalling it and rejoining the group, everything starts over from scratch. What happened? These are the possible effects of a serious bug discovered by researchers at Check Point Software Technologies.

This is a real existing bug and the situation just described could really be triggered by a hacker, without even much effort. This bug was discovered by the electronic security company and promptly communicated to the Facebook Group, via WhatsApp's "Bounty Program" that allows anyone to discover a flaw and receive a reward if you give up publishing the details before the company has found a solution. And so it was: Check Point discovered the bug in August and, with the latest update to the app, WhatsApp fixed it. The "safe" versions of WhatsApp are all those after 2.19.246.

How to crash WhatsApp with group chats

Check Point explained how a hacker could "destroy" the WhatsApp app to all participants of a group chat. All that was needed was to be part of the group, use WhatsApp Web and package a specially edited message to be sent to the entire group. At this point, anyone viewing that message would start having problems with the app. Which not only would crash repeatedly, but also wouldn't work even after being uninstalled and reinstalled. As a result, each member of the group would also lose access to previous messages and media already exchanged.

All fixed

With version 2.19.246 of the app WhatsApp has closed this dangerous security flaw. Those who have already updated the app to this version (or a later one) are therefore not at any risk, while those who have an older version are and would do well to update the app as soon as possible. The latest available version of WhatsApp is 2.19.362 and you can download it via Apk file from the official website of the instant messaging service, or via the automatic update procedure of the app on your smartphone.