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WhatsApp hack and Stuxnet worm very similar

May 2019 by Colin Tankard, Managing Director of data security company Digital Pathways

The WhatsApp hack is very similar to the Stuxnet worm, first uncovered in 2010, says Colin Tankard, Managing Director of data security firm, Digital Pathways.

The WhatsApp debacle seems to allow spy software to attach itself to phones via the call function. It was spread by an advanced cyber actor which infected mobile phones via a vulnerability in the app.

The Stuxnet worm targeted SCADA systems and was thought to be responsible for the causing of substantial damage to Iran’s nuclear programme. It was believed to have been developed jointly by both America and Israel, though neither admitted this. The malware was leaked out into the public arena and caused major damage.

“The WhatsApp hack seems to me to be another of the Stuxnet type of event. Whilst it was supposedly developed only for government agencies, as was the Stuxnet hack, it somehow leaked out to the rest of us.

“These hacks are very hard to detect. The only real chance you have is to employ Advanced Threat Detection software. This will flag up any ‘unusual behaviour’ and immediately stop it, giving the organisation time to review and understand what the attack was and how to solve it.

“Meanwhile, I urge everyone to take the WhatsApp advice and update the app immediately.”

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