By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband
WhatsApp has started rolling out an update that will allow users to create groups with up to double the previous number of maximum participants.
The feature was previously only available to a limited set of users running beta versions of the Android, iOS, and web apps but is being rolled out gradually over 24 hours.
Instead of the usual 256 members, group creators will now be able to add up to 512 members.
To see if the new cap is already available on your device, select the three-dot menu from the main WhatsApp interface and choose “Create Group”.
Once you have chosen one contact to add to the group, WhatsApp will show how many more you can add at the top of the screen.
WhatsApp’s cap on group participants has left a gap for rival apps like Telegram.
With Telegram’s groups supporting up to 200,000 members, they are ideal for community watch groups and large events with numerous attendees.
But the world’s biggest messaging service could soon plug that hole, with an overhaul for groups expected to release soon.
WhatsApp will allow users to create a larger Community group that can hold various sub-groups.
Admins can add existing groups to a Community and unlink them as required.
Only Community admins will be able to send messages to all Community members. These messages will be available under an announcement group for the community.
WhatsApp has not revealed what its new group member limit would be once the Communities feature launches.
While it started testing the feature in Argentina in March 2022, it has not revealed its global launch date.
An infamous Russian-speaking hacking group – referred to as Silence – is the likely culprit making thousands of attempts to hack major banks in sub-Saharan Africa, cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs said on Monday.
The group is called Silence because of the silent monitoring done via their malware. They have already carried out a number of successful campaigns targeting banks and financial organisations around the globe.
According to Kaspersky, the typical scenario of an attack begins with a social engineering scheme, as attackers send a phishing e-mail that contains malware to a bank employee.
From there, the malware gets inside the banks’ security perimeter and lays low for a while, gathering information on the victim organisation by capturing screenshots and making video recordings of the day-to-day activity on the infected device.
“Once attackers are ready to take action, they activate all capabilities of the malware and cash out using, for example, ATMs. The score sometimes reaches millions of dollars,” says Kaspersky.
“The attacks detected began in the first week of January 2020 and indicated that the threat actors are about to begin the final stage of their operation and cash out the funds. To date, the attacks are ongoing and persist in targeting large banks in several SSA countries.”
Kaspersky accordingly advises financial organisations to introduce basic security awareness training for all employees so that they can better distinguish phishing attempts. Banks should also monitor activity in enterprise information systems and prepare an incident response plan to be ready for potential incidents in the network environment.
In August 2019 Kaspersky reported a cyber attack in which South Africa was apparently among 17 countries targeted by North Korean hackers, related to the activity of the so-called Lazarus group. They also targeted banks and other financial institutions.