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WhatsApp downplays security flaw reports

Makers of the social messaging app WhatsApp say claims that Android users' conversations can be captured "don't paint an accurate picture." On Tuesday, tech expert Bas Bosschert wrote on his blog

  • Published: March 14, 2014 11:34 AM IST
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Makers of the social messaging app WhatsApp say claims that Android users’ conversations can be captured “don’t paint an accurate picture.”

On Tuesday, tech expert Bas Bosschert wrote on his blog that it was possible to create a malicious app that can capture WhatsApp conversations and upload them to a website. This is due in part to the fact that when installed on an Android device, WhatsApp chats and messages can be saved externally, to a handset’s SD or Micro SD card, rather than its internal memory.

Bosschert even went as far as to say that he’d written such an app for grabbing these database files. Two days later, WhatsApp has now responded officially to the claims via CNET, saying it is aware of the security flaw reports but that there is no problem for its millions of users under normal circumstances.

The hack is only possible if a WhatsApp user is first tricked into installing a malicious app. “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,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.

So the moral of the story for WhatsApp’s Android-using community is only ever use Google Play for downloading apps. Due to the fact that iPhones and iPads don’t have an SD card slot plus the fact that Apple keeps tight controls over its App Store means that iOS device owners are not at risk.

  • Published Date: March 14, 2014 11:34 AM IST