Hackers can manipulate any file you receive from them

There is no such thing like end-to-end encrypted files! Starting today secure messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram can be tampered.

This new technique has been named by cybersecurity researchers “Media File Jacking”. It is achieved by leveraging an already known fact that any app installed on a device can access and rewrite files saved on the device; this includes files saved by other apps present on the same device.

Experts say it should be noticed that this cyberattack is not limited to WhatsApp and Telegram, it affects the functionality and privacy of many other apps as well.

“Media File Jacking” cyberattack is something like the man-in-the-disk cyberattack;
Hacker’s first step is to install a malicious app on the victim’s device; trough this it can intercept and manipulate any files, without the victim’s consent and all in real-time.

Remember everything can be hacked. To stay away from any threats related to the cyber world, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running. If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;

After this a hacker can achieve many different scenarios:

  • image manipulation
  • payment manipulation
  • audio message spoofing
  • spread fake news

For example in Telegram, admins use the concept of “channels” to broadcast messages to an unlimited number of subscribers who consume the published content. Using Media File Jacking attacks, an attacker can change the media files that appear in a trusted channel feed in real-time to spread fake news.

This is how you prevent hackers from hijacking your closed one’s Android files

The issue will probably be fully resolved by Google with its upcoming Android Q update.
Android Q includes a new privacy feature called Scoped Storage that changes the way apps access files on a device’s storage.

Until then, users can eliminate the risk of such attacks by disabling the feature responsible for saving media files to the device’s storage. To achieve this, the Android user must do the following:

WhatsApp: Settings → Chats → Turn the toggle off for ‘Media Visibility’
Telegram: Settings → Chat Settings → Disable the toggle for ‘Save to Gallery’

We would continue to monitor the cybersecurity world. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber-attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.