WhatsApp bug discoverer from Manipur awarded Rs 3.47 lakh, gets mentioned in Facebook’s Hall of Fame

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Jun 11 2019
WhatsApp bug discoverer from Manipur awarded Rs 3.47 lakh, gets mentioned in Facebook’s Hall of Fame
HIGHLIGHTS

Zonel Sougaijam from Manipur was awarded $5,000 (Rs 3.47 lakh approx) by Facebook.

He responsibly disclosed a WhatsApp bug that affected user privacy to the social media platform.

Sougaijam’s name has also been included in Facebook’s Hall of Fame.

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WhatsApp has reportedly awarded $5,000 (Rs 3.47 lakh approx) to a 22-year-old civil engineer from Manipur. As per a PTI report, Zonel Sougaijam found a bug in WhatsApp that affected the privacy of a user and made a responsible disclosure about it to Facebook in March this year via the company’s bug bounty program. The social media platform’s Security team acknowledged the bug submission by Sougaijam on the very next day of the bug's submission and the flaw was apparently patched within 15-20 days. Alongside a bounty for discovering and responsibly reporting the bug to Facebook, Sougaijam also got his name ncluded in Facebook’s ‘Hall of Fame’ portal

"During a voice call through WhatsApp, the bug used to allow the caller to upgrade it to a video call without the authorisation and knowledge of the receiver. The caller was then able to see what the other person was doing, violating the privacy of the receiver," Sougaijam told PTI in a statement. As per the report, Facebook sent an email to Sougaijam that states, "After reviewing this issue, we have decided to award you a bounty of $5,000." If the bug was not discovered and patched, it could’ve been a privacy nightmare for users. 

Speaking of privacy, Facebook has confirmed that it will start displaying ads in WhatsApp Status from next year. Olivier Ponteville, the Head of Media at Be Connect Agency tweeted the announcement. It’s not really known how the ads will be regulated on WhatsApp since it uses end to end encryption and on what basis will the app users get to see ads. Currently, websites use cookies to keep track of users, understand what they are interested in and target ads based on that. However, since WhatsApp uses phone numbers for an account, along with end-to-end encryption, it’s currently unclear how ads will work. 

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