Kerrie Mccune from spyengage.com wrote a guest post about her thoughts on known WhatsApp Security Issues.
The use of smartphones is the best way to stay in touch with your loved ones. And with the upsurge in the development of the instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and a lot more have completely knocked out the traditional text messaging trend and have taken over the world of messaging. Even though there’s always a doubt with hacking of these apps; hacking WhatsApp has been confirmed as the easiest deal for an amateur hacker.
Is WhatsApp Breaching Privacy Laws?
WhatsApp have had a cavernous loop with regards to the laws of privacy; When users download this app from Google Play Store, they’re compelled to enter their entire phone details before they could start using WhatsApp. Despite the fact whether the user uses WhatsApp or not, their phone number is stored by WhatsApp. This is a big deal for all those users who don’t wish to get their number publicized for no reason.
How Vulnerable Is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp for Android has the provision to save the conversations on the phone’s SD card itself. What might raise people’s concern is the fact, that the same SD card is accessed by other apps running on the phone, which obviously ask for permission to access the memory card. Whereas some apps ask for complete access to smartphone’s resources. The permission itself is an invite for any malware hidden in an app to get access to not only your WhatsApp data, but to other data as well.
Below mentioned are some of the common factors that impedes your Instant messenger apps in just fraction of a second.
● Web Malware
As we know that the web version of the WhatsApp is now available for Android, Blackberry, Windows and Symbian smartphones. However with the newer version comes the malware that disrupts the system operation and easily gain access to the sensitive data and information. The malware quickly attacks the computer system the moment one clicks the bad and phony download links that are available in the multiple languages and appears to be genuine.
As per the research done by the Kaspersky lab reveals that these erroneous links when tapped can add the users to the WhatsApp spam list by simultaneously invading your private information. Also some of them are designed in a way that are coupled with trojans to completely vandalize your computer system. Well, to avoid this problem ensure that you’re using the authoritative URL i.e. – http://web.whatsapp.com/ and also desist from downloading any browser extensions or applications.
● Crash Messages
The issue of messages getting crashed is so far on the Android smartphones only. The IM chat window gets crashed immediately when the message over 7 MB or 2 KB is sent which contains the special set of characters that is unable to get opened on the user’s smartphone. Every-time a user attempts to click on the message the app abruptly shuts down. Perhaps one can only normalize the scenario by deleting the faulty thread and then restart the application. It is a cause of worriment for many corporate people as the WhatsApp and Facebook are largely used for business purposes as well. Hope this problem soon gets resolved.
● Dodged Privacy Settings
Despite of holding the numerous privacy settings, WhatsApp fails to standby any of them. It doesn’t matter if a user has set the settings to ‘nobody’ because with the aid of WhatsSpy Public one can lay eyes on the status messages, profile pictures and indeed alter the security and privacy settings as well. There’s no alternative way to fix this problem. All we can do is wait for the developers to debug the safety and privacy controversy.
● Spying On Other Users
There are umpteen third party application like spy software which are available in the market that assert to track the target person’s entire IM chat conversations and many more features. Yes! this cell phone monitoring app once installed in a target user’s smartphone can reveal all their mobile actions like the SMS chats, Phonebook contacts, WhatsApp, Viber and many more chat messenger conversations. Even the real time location can be discovered through the GPS location tracker.
And the phone calls can be snooped as well. Just by installing the spy application on the red marked person’s smartphone can fetch you all his/her online information into your spy account, that too without them knowing. Learn more about these spy apps in the cell phone spy reviewing websites such as SpyEngage. This website reviews different cell phone monitoring software and help people to choose the best monitoring app to monitor their kids and employees.
WhatsApp’s security loophole was tested by a Dutch Security Expert, Bass Bosschert who made an app to access WhatsApp chats in a little unconventional way. With the app, he was able to get the stored chats from the smartphone while the app kept the phone owner busy with another screen. He also managed to decipher the database with a script he made. This proves that WhatsApp is highly viable of getting hacked or spied.
What could had avoided this fault, was the use of a similar mechanism used by iPhone where an app can’t access another app’s data. This mechanism is by far, more superior in controlling how apps are permitted to access the phone’s resources.
Facebook now needs to fill in the security gaps in the Android version since they’ve acquired WhatsApp. However, this claim was denied by the company and said that the data stored in SD card is not bare, though it’s only vulnerable if the user downloads a virus or malware in their phone. This is why it becomes extremely important to download and install apps carefully and regularly update the phone’s operating systems.
Tip: Install apps from verified sellers and trusted companies to make sure you don’t accidentally get equipped with a faulty app.
After Facebook paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, it was claimed that the privacy of users might be on stake since a new update might come in future. One such update gave the users a privacy option where they could manage the “last seen function”. This update help other users to acknowledge when their messages were checked.
How To Keep Your WhatsApp Safe?
The best way for users to keep their WhatsApp chats safe is to make sure that they don’t use an open wireless network. An open WiFi network is not only unsafe, but there are high risks that this network might already be hacked. Therefore, the WhatsApp messages flowing through this WiFi would be compromised without a doubt.
It is a best practice to avoid using an insecure wireless network or connecting with public WiFi either through your smartphone or through laptop. Moreover, it’s advised not to share any personal information such as email id’s, password, photos, address etc. via any mobile application.
Also, keep your smartphone locked with a password. Never leave your phone unattended, or install just about any app on the phone. WhatsApp is just another mobile app facing the security issues right now, and it is up to the users to make sure that none of their information and data gets mishandled.
It’s an irony to see WhatsApp being accused of security concerns as it was always considered a safest app that uses encryption to secure the user’s chats. As users, it is in our hands to use the app wisely and make sure that we don’t share any crucial information through it. Also, we hope that Facebook will look into the matter and tighten the security issues.