As Zimbabweans, we have come to rely on WhatsApp for pretty much everything we do. We run businesses, share photos and videos, conduct classes, carry out political discussions, discuss football and other sports on the platform. Our mobile network operators have facilitated this by creating WhatsApp bundles. The rest of the world is pretty much the same as WhatsApp has billions of users.

This makes it an attractive target for hackers. Today Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp, announced that they have discovered that the app had a security vulnerability that hackers were using. This allowed the hackers to install spying apps on victim’s computers allowing the hackers to monitor these phones.

A brief explanation of how the hacking worked

It’s all very technical but Facebook thinks this hacking was orchestrated by what is known as an advanced cyber actor. Usually these state-sponsored groups with lots of resources at their disposal. While all versions of WhatsApp ( prior to Friday’s update) have this vulnerability the hackers were targeting a specific group of people.

The hack involved the hackers calling you, whether or not you picked up didn’t matter, the call allowed the hackers to install spyware apps on the target device.

Is my phone hacked?

Probably not, but if you are using an old version of WhatsApp your phone is vulnerable. Update to the latest version. Those who use mods like YoWhatsapp, GBWhatsapp etc are also vulnerable.

What can I do to protect myself

Simple just update to the latest version of WhatsApp and the vulnerability will be patched.