WhatsApp groups chats prone to hacking

12 January, 2018, 03:30 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • WhatsApp

Research carried out by a German cryptography team found that a flaw in how the app interacts with WhatsApp's severs, controlled by Facebook, allows anyone with access to those servers to easily insert new people into a private group chat.

The other participants will get a notification about a new user joining the group, but they have no way of knowing whether the new member was invited by the administrator (s). WhatsApp, however, has turned down the claim.

Researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany had announced they had discovered flaws in WhatsApp's security at the Real World Crypto security conference in Switzerland, according to Wired.

WhatsApp new Mention badge feature
The Whats App Mention badge appears as a button with"@ symbol in a group

"The confidentiality of the group is broken as soon as the uninvited member can obtain all the new messages and read them", Paul Rösler, one of the researchers told Wired. However, there appears to be a simple bug in WhatsApp's group mechanism.

A flaw in popular encrypted chat programs WhatsApp, Threema and Signal theoretically allows nearly anyone to control important servers, bypass encryption and add themselves to group chats. However, the representative admitted research findings but added that if someone new would be added to the group chat, every other member, including the admin, would be alerted about it. If I hear there's end-to-end encryption for both groups and two-party communications, that means adding of new members should be protected against.

In a statement to IANS on Thursday, a WhatsApp spokesperson said: "We've looked at this issue carefully". This will be possible without needing the group administrator's permission, according to the researchers. As a result, any potential flaw that impacts WhatsApp's privacy is cause for concern, ' says Jing Xie, senior digital security researcher at Venafi.

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So far, we have been led to believe that end-to-end encryption in mobile phones and messaging apps like iMessage, WhatsApp and Telegram ensures that messages sent and received by users are so well scrambled that the services themselves can not access or read them.

Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos wrote on Twitter that the bug is not effective because WhatsApp users are notified when new members join conversations.

He objected to the report saying that WhatsApp has multiple ways to check and verify members in a group chat.

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"The described weaknesses enable attacker A, who controls the WhatsApp server or can break the transport layer security, to take full control over a group". If they add themselves to the group: 1.

The idea behind encryption is to muddle your messages so only you and the recipient can read texts you send.

WhatsApp also stated that preventing the attack would put an end to its group invite link tool which allows anyone to enter a group just by tapping on a URL.

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