2018 hasn’t been a year so far for the tech-giants regarding security. After Intel, WhatsApp is now facing a security flaw and the users are very much concerned about it. WhatsApp is the biggest messaging platform with over 1.5 billion users globally. The information shared on WhatsApp is protected with end-to-end encryption. However, some bugs made their way into the app.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has reportedly been facing a problem that revolves around newly found bugs that are generated by few messages. We had earlier seen many times WhatsApp being crashed by some forwarded messages in different forms.
Now, multiple such corrupted messages have surfaced which, upon opening are causing WhatsApp to crash and in few cases, even the user’s smartphone to crash. These messages are generally created by coders either as a prank or for illegal purposes. Such messages are currently circulating having hidden special characters that change the behavior of text and results in the app to get stuck or freeze.
One such message reads, “This is very interesting (emoji)…Read more”. This message has no indication of containing anything malicious. Tapping on “Read More” freezes the app. This is followed by a popup message saying that WhatsApp isn’t responding. According to a post on Reddit, this message not only crashes WhatsApp but sometimes the entire system leading the user to restart their device.
This bug works on both Android and iOS platforms. The link for this bug is currently available on Pastebin and can be copied and sent to WhatsApp users. The other bug is so simple and challenges users to test it. The message reads, “If you touch the (emoji) black point then your WhatsApp will hang”. These bugs don’t harm much and seem to be more of a prank. However, we are advised if any such messages are seen, don’t try it out of curiosity. If you receive such messages, the best idea is to delete it.
According to the tech-giants, the string of characters, leading to the enormous size of the message is what is expected to be crashing the app. In English text, LRM (left-to-right) directional formatting is used while the said WhatsApp message uses RLM. It is widely speculated that the use of wrong directional formatting character is instructing WhatsApp to change the direction from left-to-right to right-to-left, which ultimately results in the app crashing.
Recently, Facebook, in its annual F8 conference in San Jose California, confirmed that its messaging service WhatsApp will be getting a group video calling feature soon. It’s not just Facebook-owned WhatsApp, but other messaging apps also have fallen victim to such buggy messages. Earlier this year, it was reported how sending a string of Telugu characters could crash iMessage. Apple promptly fixed the bug in the next iOS update.