As a smartphone user, you’re familiar with switching between apps – it’s an unending cycle between Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and last but not least, Instagram.
Have you ever considered, though, the threats that lurk within your apps while you use them? One particular app which you really need to pay attention to is WhatsApp.
No, we’re not trying to scare the living hell out of you and make you switch to a Nokia 3310. In all seriousness, here are 5 WhatsApp threats that you really need to read about today.
Before it’s too late and it happens to you.
Backups That Are Not Encrypted
Messages that you send out on WhatsApp are enabled with end-to-end encrypting, which means that your device is the only one which is capable of decoding them. This helps stop your texts from being intercepted while it’s sent out. It, however, says nothing at all about the safety while the texts are stored on your phone.
Use your iPhone or Android phone to back up your texts through Google Drive or iCloud, as the backups on WhatsApp tend to contain decrypted texts on your mobile.
Two years back, there were claims that it is possible to exploit WhatsApp’s encryption protocol. As mentioned earlier, your messages can’t be read while they’re being transmitted, but these same texts can be decrypted on your phone that’s in your jeans right now!
The intentional feature of WhatsApp’s Open Whisper System provides the company with access to change the security keys for users who are offline, thus providing WhatsApp with the means to block get between you and your text and unencrypt the message.
What About Web Malware?
With more than a billion of WhatsApp users around the globe, there are certainly threats from cyberspace bad guys who want to get their hands into the famed messaging app. Their most famous trick? Creating fake WhatsApp websites that might confuse those of us who use WhatsApp’s desktop and web interface applications.
Like what any IT guy would say, if you see a suspicious link, never open it.
Data Sharing on Facebook
Both Facebook and WhatsApp got together and part of its deal include data sharing from WhatsApp to (yep, you got that right!) Facebook. Information like the last time you used WhatsApp and your registered phone number is part of this data sharing between the Facebook/WhatsApp family. Turn this off by switching off data sharing options on your WhatsApp app.
The WikiLeaks Vault 7 Episode
No, this is not a Star Trek movie title. In actual fact, WikiLeaks released Vault 7 to the world in March 2017, and the leak of confidential information included information that the CIA was able to go over encryptions on a series of popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp. The whistle-blowers flooded the Internet with more than 8,700 files which apparently proved the hacking capabilities of US’ CIA department.
Upon further investigation, it was found that the encryption still stood tall, and it was the security on the user’s device end that had been compromised.
Food for thought, people. It’s time to be extra careful with what you type, and your phone’s security.
After all, if you’ve watched House of Cards, you’ll know the best, and only way, to ensure that your communications are secure is through a channel that some youngsters find unfamiliar: face to face.
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