WhatsApp messages and usernames can be faked, researchers find

The Whats App messaging application is seen on a phone screen

Check Point said the vulnerability gives a hacker the possibility "to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation" as well as "create and spread misinformation". Check Point has contacted WhatsApp to inform it of the severity of this discovery and advised that a fix should be found sooner rather than later.

In simple terms, it means that the security flaw can allow hackers to alter someone's reply in a group chat, as well as change the identity of a message's sender when the "quote" feature is used.

"The limit has started to appear this week for people in India who are on the current version of WhatsApp", the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

By doing this, it would be possible to incriminate a person or close a fraudulent deal, for example.

Finally, cyber criminals could send a private message to another group participant that is disguised as a public message for all, so when the targeted individual responds, it's visible to everyone in the conversation, CheckPoint said.

The attack sees hackers being able to infiltrate your chats and send fake messages to your friends.

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WhatsApp said it now has no plans to fix the vulnerability as it forms a core part of the "design framework" of the app.

Sending a message to a member of a group that pretends to be a group message but is in fact only sent to this member.

The security flaw is related to WhatsApp's message encryption technology, which is the primary mechanism that's used to secure all messages (text and multimedia) transmitted via WhatsApp.

The Facebook-owned messaging app is facing scrutiny in India, after it was reported that viral video messages shared on the app resulted in lynching, mob violence in some parts of the country.

Government officials, however, have categorically said they are not satisfied with WhatsApp's response, particularly as its key demands of "traceability" and attribution of messages remain unaddressed reports PTI.

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