Items tagged with WhatsApp

The crazy train that is WhatsApp right now does not look like it will be stopping any time soon. After the privacy policy fiasco, which is still developing, other issues have popped up simultaneously. It appears that Google is indexing a WhatsApp subdomain that can share users’ phone numbers. Furthermore, there are also other issues with WhatsApp that scammers can use to social engineer people, as we are just now learning. This is an absolute nightmare for privacy and security again, and should concern every WhatsApp user at present. Last year, WhatsApp had chat invite links indexed on Google, meaning they were searchable by anyone who knew what to look for. The search techniques could... Read more...
WhatsApp has been embroiled in a flurry of confusion since a change in the company's privacy policy sparked the ire of many. People such as Elon Musk suggested that users switch to rival Signal as it does not collect nearly as much data, and that call to action sparked millions to download Signal. All this chaos did not fall on deaf ears, though, as WhatsApp is pushing back its changes and trying to clean up the mess it made. Today, WhatsApp penned a blog post in an attempt to make amends and try to clear the air after what happened earlier this week. The explained that it "heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update," and it lays the blame on "a lot of misinformation... Read more...
Sometimes it is not what you say, or even how you say something. Rather, it is what you do not say that can speak the loudest, or be of the biggest concern. And so it goes with Facebook's recently updated privacy policy for WhatsApp, a cross platform messaging service that became massively popular because of its focus on privacy. Facebook seems to have shot itself in the foot, however, when last week it announced a revised policy that will effectively force users to accept Facebook data collection through the app. The policy goes into effect next month (February 8), and as you might imagine, not everyone is happy about the changes. Quite the opposite. This prompted Facebook to post a WhatsApp... Read more...
Earlier this week, WhatsApp unveiled a new privacy policy that effectively forced users to share data with Facebook. For an app that touted its user privacy and end-to-end encryption in the past, this recent development is none too kosher. It did not sit well with many users and prominent ones, like Elon Musk, who quickly and directly suggested on Twitter to switch to Signal. After Facebook bought out WhatsApp, there were concerns that the app would head down the wrong path as far as data privacy goes. It appears now that those concerns were on the mark, as Facebook will now be collecting data from the app starting on February 8th. If you do not want data collected, you do not have an option... Read more...
WhatsApp was once hailed as an excellent and secure method for contacting people. However, Facebook bought out WhatsApp, and since then, it has dealt with several privacy and security lapses. Now, Facebook is tightening the noose around WhatsApp by forcing users to accept Facebook data collection through the app. Starting on February 8th, users joining WhatsApp will automatically be sending data to Facebook due to the terms and privacy policy changes going into effect. Current users will likely soon see a notification in-app, which will give them the option of accepting these terms or deleting their account. You can see what this notification looks like below. If you follow the link to the... Read more...
One of the most popular features of apps like Snapchat is messages that disappear after a set period of time. Whether you are sending lewd messages or sensitive information, self-destructing messages can protect against images and information leaking out. Recently, WhatsApp released information about "Disappearing Messages"; its own take on self-destructing messages. This functionality has some odd caveats but could be helpful for people using the Facebook-owned messaging service. Disappearing Messages would work how you would generally expect once the feature is enabled. When a chat with a group or an individual has the feature turned on, messages will automatically disappear after a certain... Read more...
The main draw of using WhatsApp is enhanced privacy through end-to-end encryption, followed by its popularity—more than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use the instant messaging service. This also makes privacy and security lapses all the more glaring, when they are found. And according to a security who unsuccessfully tried to collect a bug bounty, there is a "privacy issue" that needs addressed. At the center of the issue is the application's 'click to chat' feature. "WhatsApp's click to chat feature allows you to begin a chat with someone without having their phone number saved in your phone's address book. As long as you know this person’s phone number and they have an... Read more...
It is not always to easy to discern bogus news stories from legitimate ones, partly because this is a crazy world we live in. Regardless of the reason, the advent of 'fake news' presents a problem for social media sites and other service. Helping to do its part, WhatsApp recently imposed a limit on message forwards and is seeing big results. WhatsApp introduced the added restrictions in the first week of April. It is part of an ongoing effort to curb the potential spread of misinformation. It started with WhatsApp adding double arrows to messages that had been forwarded many times, a measure it put in place in 2018. It followed this up limiting users from forwarding a message to more than five... Read more...
WhatsApp is popular because its end-to-end encryption gives users warm fuzzies over the privacy and security of their chats. However, the chat messaging application might not be quite as secure or private as you thought (or at least that was the case). That's because Google had been indexing links to group chats, which in turn allowed any Joe or Jane to join and see potentially private information. Apparently this had been going on for several years. As a result, there were hundreds of thousands of indexed chat group links on the web, all of which were a simple Google search away. Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are. The "Invite to Group via Link" feature allows groups... Read more...
“Dark mode” or “night mode” has long been popular with tech users. It is also now increasingly being adopted by major apps and operating systems. However, is dark mode simply an aesthetic preference or can it provide benefits to users? Companies and services like Google, Apple, and Facebook offer or plan to offer dark mode to help reduce eyestrain, increase battery life, and decrease display flickering.  Many apps and operating systems tend to prefer light user interfaces (UI). This brighter interface or “dark-on-light color scheme” was originally introduced in word processors to mimic the look of dark ink on light paper. A light UI is generally considered... Read more...
Over one billion people rely WhatsApp on a monthly basis for both personal and business use. Security vulnerabilities could therefore prove detrimental to communication and workflow. If you use WhatsApp, you will definitely want to make sure you have the latest version installed on your device. Security researchers recently discovered a WhatsApp bug that could completely wipe out your group chat histories. Security researchers at Check Point created a tool referred to as the “WhatsApp Manipulation Tool”. The tool essentially altered the parameters of the app. The researchers were able to use the new parameters to obtain access to the encryption and decryption keys that are generated... Read more...
Anyone who uses WhatsApp—and many people do, with the developers claiming 1.5 billion monthly active users—should make sure they have the latest version installed. Otherwise, they could be susceptible to a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to infiltrate their text messaging conversations, pictures, and other private information. The vulnerability is listed as CVE-2019-11931. In short, a hacker could remotely compromise a device through WhatsApp by sending over a video file injected with malicious code. All the hacker would need is a phone number of a targeted user. "A stack-based buffer overflow could be triggered in WhatsApp by sending a specially crafted MP4 file to... Read more...
WhatsApp bills itself as a free and secure messaging application with end-to-end encryption and cross platform support, all of which have made it a popular option. However, it may not be as secure as advertised. Vulnerabilities that were disclosed last year have still not been addressed, and if abused, could allow an attacker to spoof messages. Researchers at Checkpoint disclosed the a trio of attack vectors last year, explaining that they could enable a hacker to change a user's messages, change a sender's identity, and make private messages viewable to the public. One of those has been addressed, but two of the attack vectors still remain, as researchers recently demonstrated at the Black Hat... Read more...
An Israeli company that managed to hack WhatsApp earlier this year is now claiming it has developed new software that can stealthily swipe cloud data from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It can even bypass two-factor authentication and warning emails on target devices. Developed by NSO Group, the software is called Pegasus. Apparently it has been used for several years by various governments and spy agencies to gather data from smartphones, presumably from people of interest for one reason or another. The latest iteration, however, extends past smartphones and can pluck data from the cloud. People who are supposedly familiar with NSO Group's sales pitch told Financial Times that... Read more...
In yet another blow to Huawei as it struggles to deal with a US ban, Facebook is distancing itself from the ostracized smartphone maker by no longer allowing its apps to be preinstalled on the company's handsets. That includes not just Facebook, but also WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which the social media giant owns. US intelligence agencies have long warned that Huawei could be linked to spying on behalf of China. More recently, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made the claim that Huawei is directly funded by the Chinese government, and the National Defense Authorization Act subsequently banned US government agencies from using products from Huawei (and also ZTE). Things have only gone... Read more...
WhatsApp, a Facebook property, has issued a warning to users of its app and is asking users to upgrade to the latest version of the app. Reports surfaced this week that a company based in Israel has been able to successfully install malware that could listen in on phone calls made via WhatsApp. While WhatsApp confirmed the vulnerability, it didn't name the company that allegedly has the capability of listening in on conversations. WhatsApp is calling for users of its app to update to the latest version of the app and to make sure that their mobile operating system is up to date to protect against targeted exploits designed to compromise information that is stored on the mobile devices. The... Read more...
Facebook recently revealed that it is working on cross-platform messaging between its three social media apps. Although the software rewrite is still in its infancy, it was immediately met with criticism and apprehension. Facebook’s intention of merging their messaging services has spurred concerns about privacy and calls for antitrust regulation. The New York Times reported last week that Facebook was developing software that would merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The apps would remain separate, but their messaging services would be interoperable. Facebook’s goal is to increase user engagement and discourage users from turning to other messaging platforms. The software... Read more...
Facebook currently fosters three popular platforms that are [for the most part] distinct from its eponymous social network: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. All three platforms feature their own respective messaging component; Instagram users, for instance, can't use the app to contact users on WhatsApp. That will all change in the future, as Facebook is reportedly in the process of rebuilding its software infrastructure to allow cross-platform messaging from any of its standalone properties to another. According to reporting by the New York Times, the software rewrite is currently in its infancy and might not be made public until late 2019 or early 2020. By tying its various... Read more...
Facebook might be joining the blockchain party in a potentially big way, by developing its very own cryptocurrency that would enable users to transfer money over WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging service the company acquired in early 2014 for $19 billion. On the surface, blockchain and WhatsApp seem like a natural fit. The appeal of WhatsApp is that it utilizes end-to-end encryption and is viewed as a secured messaging platform. It's also available to the public at large and boasts over 1.5 billion monthly users, who collectively send 60 billion messages every day, according to data Mark Zuckerberg provided for the fourth quarter of 2017. Those figures are undoubtedly even higher today.... Read more...
WhatsApp users have been forwarding a message around that some might find incredibly annoying. The message will cause the app to hang for a bit, after which it will then function normally. No malicious content is transferred with the message according to reports. The message reads "If you touch the black point your WhatsApp will hang." The message is then forwarded by a black dot and in some cases emojis. Naturally, a good portion of the people who get it can't resist the temptation to touch the black dot. As for why the message can cause WhatsApp to hang, it has to do with symbols included in the message that WhatsApp doesn’t recognize. Since the app doesn't recognize the characters,... Read more...
WhatsApp co-founder of Jan Koum is sitting on what is estimated to be a $9.1 billion fortune, and he will have plenty of time to enjoy that cash now that he has departed the company. That massive fortune came to Koum and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton when Facebook purchased their company back in 2009 for $22 billion in cash and stock. Acton and Koum haven't been very happy with Facebook, especially in recent months after the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach.  In fact, Acton led a charge to encourage people to delete Facebook, biting the hand that fed him billions. So, what is 42-year-old Koum going to do with the remainder of his days? Sitting on that $9.1 billion fortune, he can do... Read more...
Police around the world have been using fingerprints to catch criminals for decades. Normally these fingerprints are lifted from surfaces or objects at the scene of a crime. Police in Wales recently used a photograph of a finger to catch and convict 11 drug traffickers. The process of using fingerprints from a digital photo is hailed as groundbreaking. Dave Thomas of South Wales Police said that the police force will now analyze images more closely when it finds them on smartphones seized during investigations. In this case, the police seized a smartphone at a home where an anonymous tip informed police of potential drug activity. The phone was found to have WhatsApp messages that went back for... Read more...
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