Can WhatsApp be used as a spying tool?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When it comes to instant messaging services, WhatsApp is by far the most widely used platform worldwide. There will always be someone in your contact list who uses Meta often, whether you use Telegram, Signal, or Apple Messages.

There is constant communication about how the app is being made, such as when new features are added, bugs are fixed, or security is tightened. But now, a “very capable” user has posted on Telegram to tell people not to use the app.

Telegram creator Pavel Durov sent a heartfelt statement outlining the reasons for his plea, beginning with the words “Hackers might have complete access!” All the content is on WhatsApp users’ mobile devices.

Avoid Whatsapp at all costs, says the creator of rival messaging program Telegram.

According to Durov, WhatsApp would have a major security hole. A video or video call might make it possible for an attacker to take over the phone.

If you haven’t already, please update the app as soon as possible, as was recommended in our piece. Although Telegram’s creator suggests it may not be enough.

Even the wealthiest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, fell prey to a security weakness in the program, Durov warns, so you should be aware that this has happened in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Durov says that WhatsApp has real backdoors that are put back in once they are found. This means that the program will always have a weakness, no matter how many times it is fixed.

Every year, we hear of a new vulnerability in WhatsApp that puts users’ data at risk. This suggests that a whole new security hole almost certainly exists there. Such problems are not unrelated, but rather deliberate backdoors. Once a backdoor is found and closed, another one is immediately installed in its place.

The remark is fairly forceful, but it is not the first time the creator of the Telegram app has spoken out against the Meta app. Even more seriously, the software has been widely accepted as a valid monitoring tool for the past 13 years, so the management and the person who made it say you shouldn’t use it.

Threat to users’ privacy and security.

Should we all start communicating via Telegram now? Durov said that he didn’t publish the message because more advertising for Telegram is needed. Given that his app attracts 2 million new users every single day, it must be rather popular. Telegram’s user base exploded in 2021 in response to WhatsApp’s new privacy settings, but he doesn’t mention it.

“Please don’t think that I’m trying to convert everyone to Telegram. Telegram does not need any more advertising now that it has 700M+ active users and 2M+ new signups per day. Avoid using WhatsApp if you want to use any texting app at all. After 13 years of use, it has been shown to be an effective surveillance instrument.”

Moreover, while Telegram is undeniably superior to WhatsApp in terms of privacy for a variety of reasons, the claim that it is problem-free is false. Even though WhatsApp is the least secure of the major messaging apps, it makes sense that we can’t get everyone we know to switch to Signal, which is the app that security experts now recommend.

For years, Durov has deleted WhatsApp whenever he upgrades his phone. For him, it’s the same as leaving an open door, and he doesn’t want that.

“It makes no difference if you are the wealthiest man on the planet. All of your data from every app is available if you have WhatsApp on your phone. In the year 2020, Jeff Bezos discovered this fact. That’s why I stopped using WhatsApp a long time ago. It opens a backdoor into your phone if you have it.”

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store