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WhatsApp Enhances Call Security With Location Hiding, Unknown Call Block

by Abeerah Hashim
WhatsApp supports in-call location hiding feature

Stepping ahead to enhance users’ privacy, WhatsApp improvises its call feature security by launching two new features. These features facilitate users in hiding their location during calls and block calls from unknown numbers.

WhatsApp Rolls Out Location Hiding And Spam Call Block

Earlier this year, WhatsApp launched the “Silence Unknown Callers” to let users block unknown calls. First announced in June, the new feature appears in the WhatsApp Privacy settings under the “Calls” section as a toggle on/off menu.

Enabling this feature prevents calls from unknown numbers from ringing, saving the users from unwanted interruptions. Moreover, this feature also protects users from potential cyber threats originating from malicious calls, such as social engineering and malware/spyware attacks.

Explaining this feature’s importance in a blog post, Meta stated that the loads of protocols used in calling software increase the attack surface as criminal hackers can exploit unpatched vulnerabilities for malicious purposes. At times, the target users don’t have to interact with incoming calls as the attackers trigger zero-click attacks.

Although numerous call-silencing features already exist with calling software, they merely silence the incoming calls from ringing without preventing potential bug exploits.

However, WhatsApp’s “Silence Unknown Callers” not only prevents calls from unlisted numbers but also bypasses the normal call flow. WhatsApp implements a “specialized protocol for delivering stripped-down, silenced call notifications to recipients,” protecting the recipient device from attacker-controlled data.

After successfully launching this feature, WhatsApp has introduced the location hiding feature during a WhatsApp call. Specifically, this feature hides the users’ IP addresses by relaying calls via WhatsApp servers without disturbing the usual end-to-end encryption.

However, this feature isn’t specific to WhatsApp since other messaging apps like Signal and Telegram offer call relays already. Nonetheless, it will serve as another good reason for privacy-savvy WhatsApp users to continue using the app, besides the Proxy feature rolled out in early 2023.

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