than ever for crooks to access our personal information – especially on our
cellphones. Afterall, it’s where most of us store our banking details, emails
and additional data.
information ends up in the wrong hands, it could put your finances in jeopardy
or even lead to identity theft.
This is why
when reports of a WhatsApp hacking scandal surfaced, users reacted in a panic.
targeted a select number of users and was orchestrated by an advanced
cyber-actor, according to those in charge of the app, which is owned by
BBC reports hackers managed to remotely install surveillance
software on phones and other devices by exploiting a major vulnerability in the
the hacking software was developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, reports the Financial Times.
out a fix on Friday and urged its 1,5 billion users to update their app.
cyber-crooks might have been exposed but if you haven’t updated the app yet,
you’re still at risk, says Paul Ducklin, senior technologist at IT security
“This bug has
got so much attention that there are probably loads of crooks looking to
recreate or rediscover it,” he warns.
He adds it’s
important to often patch – or update – the apps installed on your device.
“If you aren’t
in the habit of patching, use this story as a reason to get serious about it.
Don’t make yourself an easy picking for the crooks.”
hackers gain access to a device it’s a free for all, Ducklin says.
“The thing with
spyware in general is that once a crook has a foothold on your device, they can
go after anything that’s accessible,” he explains.
“So a crook who
targets your photo album might not really care about your pictures. They might
be more interested in snooping around for bank account details, credit card
numbers, and so on.
“But it’s the
same as when someone breaks into a house. Perhaps they were after a laptop or
TV, but who knows what else they could take a shine to because it seemed interesting
or valuable once they were inside?”
much users could have done to protect themselves. But Ducklin advises you to keep
the number of apps on your phone limited and often update them.
you don’t actually use, whether that’s a mainstream app like WhatsApp or a
special-interest app such as a game. The more apps you have, the more bugs you
might be exposing to the crooks. So reduce what cybersecurity jargon calls your
‘attack surface area’.”