Facebook Rewards Israeli Teen Who Uncovered WhatsApp Security Breach
December 18, 2017 | Israeli high school student Yuval Sprintz recently discovered a security breach in the Facebook-owned instant messaging and voice-over IP service app WhatsApp, and reported it to the online social network giant, Ynet has reported. Facebook responded by fixing the breach and awarding the teen a $1,250 prize. Sprintz, a gifted high school student from the Israeli moshav of Tzurit, also studies for his computer science degree at Haifa University and participates in the Davidson Institute of Science Education’s Alpha program at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He contacted Facebook through its “Bug Bounty” program in September. The program is intended for independent information security specialists to report security breaches to Facebook for monetary compensation. The breach Sprintz found allows users to add fake numbers to group chats, add blocked users back into groups, and add as many users as one sees fit, without having to go through the administrator of the group, who is currently the only one allowed to add new users. With the breach, a fake user with an exceptionally long phone number can also be added, which could lead to a crash of the app on certain smartphones.