WhatsApp is one of the most popular free apps for sending text, pictures, stickers or video. At the same time, it’s one of the most controversial ones worldwide. There have been many scandals in the history of WhatsApp, the most recent one being the change in the privacy Terms and Conditions which now allow it to share users’ account information with Facebook. This last scandal has sparked up an ongoing debate about privacy and data protection in Europe.
However, WhatsApp is also considered to be one of the safest messaging platforms out there due to its end-to-end encryption tech that keeps all conversations private without enabling anybody to listen in on them.
More recently, after being tested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (US), it appears that WhatsApp is not as safe as it was initially thought and that there are four security issues that the company should look into.
Firstly, there are the unencrypted backups. While conversations between two WhatsApp users are end-to-end encrypted, it seems that the data that users back up to the cloud has to be unencrypted so that they can be restorable. This means that users should think twice about backing up their messages and conversations to the cloud because they would be less safe then.
Then there are the key change notifications which refer to you getting a notification whenever the encryption key of a contact changes. WhatsApp disables these notifications by default so, in order to be completely safe, you’ll have to go to Settings>>Account>>Security so that you could enable them.
Thirdly, there is the web app which can be easily modified by a malicious third party and then used to retrieve your messages and personal data. The EFF has suggested that the desktop app should be offered as a browser extension in order to make the messaging experience more secure.
Lastly, there is the info sharing with Facebook issue. The EEF says that while WhatsApp users can opt out of the sharing between apps, they can’t opt out completely.