Activists who campaign for freedom of speech, privacy and net neutrality have slammed Facebook owned Whatsapp for having a backdoor that will allow it to break in and read encrypted messages of a user. Facebook had previously claimed that no one can hack into Whatsapp to get a user’s data or his message details. They had underscored this by saying that even their own employees cannot hack into the messaging service to get a user’s details and his messages. More than a billion people use Whatsapp regularly on a daily basis to communicate and conduct business on the messaging app. Whatsapp’s privacy and its security are a major reason for people to use the messaging service.
New research has proven that even if a user uses its end to end encryption facility, his messages could still be accessed by Facebook, WhatsApp and other hackers. Concerned activists have said that this is a major concern for activists, diplomats and whistle blowers who use the app for communication and data sharing. This can put their lives at risk when paranoid security agencies can hire hackers to get the data and information that they need.
WhatsApp’s encryption system depends on security keys that are unique for every user and are exchanged between each user who communicates. These are used a guarantee for preventing any leaks and hacks.
However, it has come to the notice of some people that WhatsApp can create a new security key that can be used to access the messages sent. A message that has been sent to a person who is offline can be read by WhatsApp even before it reaches the user. All this happens without the knowledge of the sender. This was discovered by Tobias Boelter, who is a security researcher in the United States at the University of California, Berkeley. If WhatsApp is asked for this information by any Government, it can easily do this by generating new encryption keys. He informed Facebook about this in April 2016, but he was told that they were aware of this and they are working on this.