WhatsApp Security Flaw Could Allow Impostors To Enter Group Conversations
00:17, Jan 14, 2018
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That report stated that the researchers had found flaws in WhatsApp, to make infiltrating the app's group chats much easier than ought to be possible.
A bug in WhatsApp means it's possible to sneak into private chats without any admin permissions, despite the Facebook-owned company's best efforts with encryption.
The experts planned to reveal their findings at the Real World Crypto security conference Wednesday in Switzerland.
WhatsApp does notify members of a group chat when a new user joins, so they may realize that something suspicious is going on, but they may also assume that the new person was invited by the group administrator.
Speaking to Wired, one of the researchers said: "The confidentiality of the group is broken as soon as the uninvited member can obtain all the new messages and read them".
And once that new person is added, the phone of each member of that chat group automatically shares secret keys with that person, giving them full access to all future messages, but not past ones.
"Existing members are notified when new people are added to a WhatsApp group", the platform said. Whenever a new member is to be added, the administrator first sends a request to the WhatsApp server with the ID of the new member that it wants to add.
Well, according to WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, WhatsApp servers can only be controlled by staff, Governments who legally demand access, and high-level hackers. And as only new messages can be viewed by a new member, the risk to privacy is mitigated somewhat. The same security flaw also affects Signal and Threema messaging apps, but not to the degree that WhatsApp is affected according to researchers.
The Whats App Mention badge appears as a button with"@ symbol in a group
Responding to the report, WhatsApp said, "We've looked at this issue carefully".
WhatsApp rolled out the mentions feature for its users back in 2016 in an attempt to improve the overall experience of the users.
"If someone hacks the WhatsApp server, they can obviously alter the group membership".
The upcoming feature that sends notifications when you are mentioned in a group was initially spotted by WABetaInfo that comes up with the WhatsApp related features and updates. "And if not, the value of encryption is very little".
But the shoddy security around WhatsApp's group chats should make its most sensitive users wary of interlopers, Rösler argues.
The messenger app has built a new feature, called "Dismiss As Admin", that lets group admins demote other group admins, and take control of conversations.
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