ATET Security

The WhatsApp Privacy Controversy

Messaging applications have become the de facto means of communication today. The ease of using these messaging applications has made the users life more efficient and comfortable. Getting in touch with someone for whatever purpose, work or personal, has become more comfortable and convenient than ever. WhatsApp messenger was established in 2009 by two ex-employees of Yahoo!. They began the messenger journey by first allowing users to update and show their statuses. One could register and create an account on WhatsApp by using their phone number as a form of identification.

WhatsApp has now become an application with multiple features, such as text messaging, voice calling, voice recording, sharing of documents, and location sharing. Users can create groups to communicate with multiple peers at once, and the platform is accessible via both mobile and web devices. Even though the application provides a high-end means of sending out messages and sharing moments, it requires maintaining a security stronghold.

Implementation of security measures on WhatsApp is essential because messaging applications are an easy target for hackers to execute cyberattacks, such as Sniffing and Man-in-the-middle attacks. The application has recently garnered more interest with its new online privacy settings, which caused many users to assume that WhatsApp can access user data due to its transparency. As user privacy is a sensitive issue, this is a significant cause for concern.

The latest update on WhatsApp security and privacy was launched in 2021, which stated that WhatsApp would share its user data with Facebook. The controversy revolved around the fear that WhatsApp’s user data would be collected and used by Facebook without user consent. This fear has grown because Facebook is known for using consumer data for its artificial intelligence. As a result of this update, many users decided to switch from WhatsApp to other messaging platforms such as Telegram or Signal.

Signal offers end-to-end encryption for both text and voice messages for those concerned with privacy, and Telegram has an end-to-end encrypted chat feature called Secret Chats. There are no advertisements on WhatsApp, and it remains a free platform. WhatsApp has ensured full encryption of all media files, messages, and documents shared among users. The privacy policy will allow easy reading and understanding of terms and conditions for users to know how the application works to gain back users trust.

Today, WhatsApp remains the most popular communication platform for personal and business use. More than half of the world’s population use the platform, making it an essential tool. Despite transparent policies, the messenger will never be completely safe, and there is always a risk of using it. Since the application is free, WhatsApp does not provide enterprise data protection, which means that it utilizes user data and stores the address book data. Despite WhatsApp being relatively safer than other messaging and communication platforms, no application is 100 per-cent secure for use.

The latest update on privacy creates additional challenges for individuals and business users. Users should stay vigilant about their communication content and means, as devices are still susceptible to cyberattacks. After all, no application is ever completely safe from cyber attackers.