Since the end of last year, there have been reports about Whatsapp being vulnerable. Amidst all these security issues, Facebook, at the beginning of this year bought Whatsapp at $19billion, which is reported to be the largest sum a start-up has ever been bought. Well, I don’t think Whatsapp is a start-up anymore.
Now all these issues are actually surrounding Whatsapp for Android. For your information, Android is a largely used mobile OS (open-source) and so befitting is Whatsapp which has over 450 million users. Also according to stats released by Kaspersky, some 98% of all mobile malware released in 2013 was targeted at the Android platform due to the OS’s architecture. Now the issue being raised here is that there is a vulnerability in the encryption of WhatsApp, which can grant access to another app to view (well that’s an understatement) a user’s chat conversations. This is not the same with Apple’s iOS which does not give access to data outside of an app’s own sandbox.
Now just recently, Whatsapp released a statement to allay our fears:
We are aware of the reports regarding a “security flaw”. Unfortunately, these reports have not painted an accurate picture and are overstated. Under normal circumstances the data on a microSD card is not exposed. However, if a device owner downloads malware or a virus, their phone will be at risk. As always, we recommend WhatsApp users apply all software updates to ensure they have the latest security fixes and we strongly encourage users to only download trusted software from reputable companies. The current version of WhatsApp in Google Play was updated to further protect our users against malicious apps.
Generally, the summary of the whole issue is that some apps which have access to your mircoSD card can maliciously access your messages which brings up my own advice: do not store potentially sensitive data on the SD card. If you are not sure of the app source, don’t install it on your phone. Ensure the apps you install are those from the Google Play Store. At the same time folks, app updates contain a lot of bug fixes and security updates, don’t joke with them. Shikena!