Fans of WhatsApp are being urged to check their Android devices and iPhones for the very latest updates. This important alert comes after a shock new bug was discovered by security experts with it able to crash devices and wipe out an entire chat history via a single text.

The issue was spotted by the team at Check Point who identified a vulnerability within the popular messaging service.

If the glitch is exploited, the message can set about causing chaos for anyone who uses group chats within the app.

Explaining more, the team at Check Point said in a blog post: “By sending this message WhatsApp application will crash in every phone that is a member of this group.

“The bug will crash the app and it will continue to crash even after we reopen WhatsApp, resulting in a crash loop. Moreover, the user will not be able to return to the group and all the data that was written and shared in the group is now gone for good. The group cannot be restored after the crash has happened and will have to be deleted in order to stop the crash.”

The bug was first discovered back in August with Check Point giving WhatsApp time to fix the issue before making it public this week.

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Speaking about the findings, WhatsApp Software Engineer Ehren Kret, said: “WhatsApp greatly values the work of the technology community to help us maintain strong security for our users globally.

“Thanks to the responsible submission from Check Point to our bug bounty program, we quickly resolved this issue for all WhatsApp apps in mid-September. We have also recently added new controls to prevent people from being added to unwanted groups to avoid communication with untrusted parties all together.”

If you use WhatsApp it’s vital that you keep things updated on your device to protect it from security issues.

If you own an iPhone or Android device you can check for updates via the Apple and Google app stores.

News of this bug comes as some WhatsApp users face the nightmare of being phased out from the app later this month.

WhatsApp has confirmed on its support page that anyone with a Windows Phone will lose access from December 31, 2019. And that’s not all.

The deadline for ageing Windows smartphone will be followed by blocks for iPhones running anything older than iOS 7 and Android devices with versions 2.3.7 installed. This iPhone and Android block will come into force from February 1, 2020.

If you love WhatsApp and have any of the phones mentioned – or haven’t updated your operating system in a few years, you’ll need to head to a shop to get an upgrade to something a little more recent.