Ever since WhatsApp has been acquired by Facebook, its growth has become unstoppable. The two-step verification and the automatic end-to-end encryption features were introduced to strengthen the security of this app. Despite the measures, there are still some threats that you must watch out for:
- Web malware
When WhatsApp web was introduced, hackers were very quick to release WhatsApp spying apps and fake WhatsApp websites to steal data of users and distribute malware.
If you happened to download any such malicious version of WhatsApp web, that means you are also installing and distributing a malware in your computer. Hackers were to create such websites too that asked for your phone number to connect you to the server and then bombard your WhatsApp with multiple spam messages. Such scams are happening to this date too. To stay away from all such spam, it is best to directly go to web.whatsapp.com to use WhatsApp web.
- Encrypted backups
The messages sent via WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted and your device is the only thing that can decode those messages. Your messages cannot be intercepted during transmission. But nobody can say they are safe while they are on your device. We all know it is possible to create a backup of WhatsApp messages on iCloud and Google Drive. The backup created by WhatsApp contains decrypted messages on your device. That’s why even a WhatsApp spying app can let someone read your WhatsApp conversations.
Since the backup is not encrypted, if someone wants to access your message, all they need is to break into your daily WhatsApp backup. You are at the mercy of the cloud service for keeping your data safe. Even the government or the law enforcement can access your WhatsApp data stored on the cloud by obtaining a warrant.
- Facebook data sharing
- Vulnerabilities in encryption
The Guardian published a story that the encryption of WhatsApp can be easily exploited. Although the messages which are end-to-end encrypted cannot be read during the transmission, they are locally decrypted on your smartphone. Each user is assigned a public security key for verifying the device that is receiving a message is the intended recipient. When WhatsApp is reinstalled or moved to another phone, this key changes.
If WhatsApp can change the security keys, it can interpret and decrypt the messages too. Then, WhatsApp can also force the user to resend the messages with a new security key, allowing itself to access those messages. This seems to be something done by WhatsApp intentionally.
Technical communities argued that the Guardian did very little verification on the encryption issue. The end-to-end encryption was not entirely flawless.
Apart from these vulnerabilities, a WhatsApp spying app can compromise your chats too. If you believed WhatsApp was a secure means of communication, it is time to consider this thought. Don’t want your communications to be compromised? A simple solution is to you opt for secure alternatives to WhatsApp and protect yourself from such threats.