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Whatsapp bug allows hackers to hijack phones with bizarre gif

Users of the messaging app should update to the latest version to protect their privacy


A major security flaw that allows hackers to hijack people's phones by sending them a gif, has been discovered with WhatsApp. 

The bug allows hackers to steal files and view chat messages from compromised Android devices.

It was discovered by a researcher who goes by the name Awakened. 

The malware, known as a double-free vulnerability, is only triggered if a user opens the specially-created gif in the messaging app.

It works well for phones and devices running Android 8.1 and Android 9, though is less affective with older versions of Google's operating system, the researcher wrote in a detailed blog post describing the hack. 

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has issued a fix, though users will need to update to the latest version in order to avoid falling victim to the hack.

A spokesperson for the messaging app stated that they were unaware of any WhatsApp users being affected by the issue.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the popular messaging app is testing a new feature that will see messages disappear after they are sent.

The introduction of self-destructing messages, which are currently only available in the beta version of the app, brings WhatsApp in line with a number of competitors, including Snapchat and Telegram.