Despite being part of the Meta empire, led by Mark Zuckerberg, and having over 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp remains susceptible to determined hackers. Cases of security breaches have been reported multiple times in recent years.
The Swiss National Center for Cybersecurity has issued an alert regarding WhatsApp, as it can be easily hacked remotely by cybercriminals. The pole issued a warning about WhatsApp specifically, urging its users to increase their security. Currently, hackers are willing to invest millions of dollars to uncover vulnerabilities enabling them to hack the WhatsApp instant messaging service. "Zero-day" vulnerabilities are the most sought after.
Cybercriminals profit through two main channels: stealing cryptocurrencies or deceiving individuals into payments and acquiring and selling sensitive information to malicious groups or governments. In the latter scenario, mobile messaging apps like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp are prime targets.
As cybersecurity measures improve, hacking these platforms becomes more challenging. Cybercriminals aspire to exploit "zero-day" vulnerabilities, flaws unknown to app or software developers. Such vulnerabilities, especially those compromising WhatsApp, are in high demand and command millions of dollars. For example, a Russian group recently offered $20 million for exploits to infiltrate Android and iOS smartphones. In 2021, a zero-day WhatsApp vulnerability for Android devices was sold for up to $8 million. The messaging app's vast user base, exceeding 2.5 billion, underscores its allure as a target for hackers.
So what can you do to protect yourself from being hacked? Try these simple solutions:
- Enable two-step verification
- Use a strong password and PIN
- Beware of phishing links and messages
- Do not share your verification code with anyone
- Log out of WhatsApp Web and other devices
- Update your app and phone regularly