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WhatsApp Allows User’s Data to be Breached

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Recently, it has been revealed that the popular messaging service, WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook is vulnerable to snooping. This was reported by The Guardian on Friday saying that contrary to the famous claim by the company, there is a backdoor to its data which can be accessed without the users knowing about it.

The way end-to-end encryption has been implemented does not offer complete privacy to the data of the users. The messages of billions of users can be read easily.

According to the report, the data of the messages relies heavily on distinct security keys “that are traded and verified between users to guarantee communications are secure and cannot be intercepted by a middleman.”

WhatsApp is capable of forcing the generation of new keys for online users and the data can be accessed without the knowledge of both the sender and the receiver.

The Guardian came into contact with a cryptography expert from the University of California, Tobias Boelter, who told them, “ If WhatsApp is asked by a government agency to disclose its messaging records, it can effectively grant access due to the change in keys.”

He even went on to say that he had reported the issue to Facebook Inc. as soon as he discovered it in April 2016 but the company was already aware of it. However, they were still not concerned or actively working on it.

The company went on to give the statement that all it provided was “simple, fast, reliable and secure” service.

There is a way through which users can know that their security code has been changed.

“We know the most common reasons this happens are because someone has switched phones or reinstalled WhatsApp…. In these situations, we want to make sure people’s messages are delivered, not lost in transit,” this statement was issued.

But The Guardian is still adamant that a backdoor exists to breach the security of the users.

“WhatsApp can effectively continue flipping the security keys when devices are offline and re-sending the message, without letting users know of the change till after it has been made, providing an extremely insecure platform.” This quote has been given by Steffen Tor Jensen who is the head of information security and digital counter-surveillance at the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights.

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 but it still functions as a separate entity.

image source

  • export-whatsapp-chat-1: google

About Palwasha Qasim

Palwasha Qasim is a graduate of the University of the Punjab in communication studies and an alum of the Global UGRAD Pakistan. She loves to write about technology news.