E&T news story: WhatsApp could spy on its users, report suggests

A cyber security news story from E&T online

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Jan 17, 2017
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The Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp could reportedly spy on its users or provide access to messages to third parties, according to a US cyber security researcher. The firm behind the app’s encryption system dismisses the allegations.

Univeristy of California cryptologist Tobias Boelter told the Guardian that messages sent via WhatsApp could be read by a middle-man without the users’ knowing when the app changes security keys.

WhatsApp uses unique security keys that are exchanged and verified between users to confirm the communication is secure. WhatsApp, however, can change those keys for users that are offline. Messages sent during this period are vulnerable, as the app doesn’t expect the user to verify the security key, but instead generates completely new encryption keys, re-encrypts the messages and sends them again.

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Go to the profile of Simon Hamlet

Simon Hamlet

Managing Editor, The E&T Cyber Security Hub

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