WhatsApp’s Android App Has a Security Flaw
Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) purchase of the app may not be the biggest privacy threat for WhatsApp’s Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) users. Its biggest threat may be a security hole that may allow others with the hacker know-how access to their chats, says a Dutch consultant.
Bas Bosschert, a Dutch security consultant, published a post on his webpage detailing how a user’s WhatsApp database can be obtained fairly easily using a mix of coding and taking advantage of permissions. WhatsApp information is stored on SD cards on Android smartphones, which, Bosschert wrote in the post, can be read by Android applications.
“The WhatsApp database is saved on the SD card which can be read by any Android application if the user allows it to access the SD card,” Bosschert wrote. “And since majority of the people allows everything on their Android device, this is not much of a problem.” Bosschert spent the rest of the post detailing how to hack into the Android version of WhatsApp, using open-source tools and some coding.
WhatsApp prides itself on how the company does not sell user information to make money, a unusual move when many other apps and social media platforms sell user data to make money. When the news broke that Facebook would purchase the app for $16 billion, concerns over how WhatsApp users privacy would be protected arose. Now it seems that for Android users, the permissions needed to run the app may be a more immediate threat than the social media giant acquiring the messaging service.