Messaging application plays a major role in sending and receiving messages from all over the world. One such application is the Whatsapp which lets the user send and receive messages, audios, videos, voice call and even video calls. This application is made available for Android and other Smartphone users. You can even make a call with your friends across the world using Whatsapp. The app uses your mobile internet connection that your cellular plan’s voice minutes.
Since a large number of people are using Whatsapp application, there is a lot of issue in the application which everyone is facing. One such issue is the security risks which allow the third party to read and intercept the messages in the application. Even though Whatsapp announced in recent public statements, checking fingerprints will not solve the problem nor will check the mailbox in Whatsapp settings panel.
It is a process of converting the original messages into encoded messages from the sender to the recipient in order to prevent the third parties from stealing the information. The concept has been in use since thousands of years to encode the written messages. But now, the modern methods of communication can be encoded automatically with complex coding techniques.
With this technique, people can now able to send and receive a lot of data between the devices. All the data’s, whether it is a voice call, text messages or mobile data’s, is managed by whichever service provider whose service you are using. The data encryption varies depending on the policy of the company who provide the service.
If the user is likely to message through Whatsapp than the text message, the mobile operator is not in charge for encrypting the Whatsapp data. It hardly provides you with the connection to the wider internet, the connection that lets the application such as Whatsapp, Twitter, and even Facebook to send messages throughout the world.
How end-to-end encryption works?
Whatsapp end-to-end encryption technique is important since it does not allow the third party to interfere with the Whatsapp user’s privacy sent on its own platform. When the user sends a message it can only be unlocked by the expected recipient.
This application is different from the other messaging application, which does the encryption between the sender and the receiver. This says that the messages are stored on the servers, but not permanently, so it could be accessed and read.
Significance of end to end encryption
End to end encryption is important in Whatsapp application, which means that they and no party like police, governments, hackers and other users can intercept and read your messages.
The concept has been introduced since as a company they believe in your right to have private conversations when the user uses this service. The reason behind the decision is it’s getting a lot of attention in high profile cases in which the communication service providers such as Facebook are put upon by the authority to release sensitive personal data.
High profile case is the FBI which asks the people to unlock the underlying integral values of many large communication companies when it comes to personal data, encryption, and security.
Why is encryption necessary for an application?
Smartphone messaging services plays an important role in providing security to the application. Facebook messenger encrypts only the messages between your device and the servers. This means that Facebook could be committed to confessing private messages. The same policy has been applied to Instagram and Whatsapp which is owned by the Facebook.
Whatsapp disclosed that it will start to sharing data with its owned company Facebook in order to draw in referring to the platform. Third party companies will be able to send the targeted messages directly to the Whatsapp users should they accept the new terms and conditions. Whatsapp will now share its user’s mobile numbers with Facebook to offer advertisements.
It’s clear to note that the platform has to make its offering after a few years of providing free service. Facebook will receive the information in order to target with an advertisement on the Facebook platform. It is important to note that Whatsapp has to acknowledge some of it privacy values. If the user doesn’t like to share additional information like mobile number cross-platforms, here’s how to opt out of Whatsapp adverts.
Whatsapp security issues
Whatsapp security vulnerability that can be used to let the Facebook users and others interrupt and read the encoded messages have been found in its Whatsapp messaging service. Facebook says that no one can hack Whatsapp messages including the company and it's staff members to ensure privacy for it end users. But research says that the company could read the messages due to the way by which Whatsapp has implemented its end to end encryption technique.
Privacy supporter says that it is a huge threat and it could be used by the government sectors as a backdoor to snoop on users who think that their messages are kept safe and secure. Whatsapp has determined privacy and security as a primary selling point and it has become a go-to communication tool for activists, dissidents, and diplomats.
Whatsapp end to end encoding confide on the generation of unique security keys, by using Signal Protocol that is verified between the users to safeguard the communications and it cannot be read by the third party users. Anyhow, it has the capacity to force the generation of new encryption keys for offline users. This is known to the sender and the recipient, and to make the sender do the re-encryption messages with new keys and send them again for any messages that have not been marked as delivered.
The recipient is not aware of the change in encryption technique while the sender is only notified if they have chosen into encryption warnings in settings and only after the messages have been sent again. This technique allows the Whatsapp to intercept and read the messages from the user.
Though Whatsapp uses a public and private key to encrypt and decrypt the messages in the applications it is still facing some issues. When users try to read messages from their friends, the app needs their friend’s public key. The app resolves this problem by storing the key on the central servers, and the app downloads them certainly.
The issue is that the servers could probably lie about the public keys. That is, Instead of giving your friend’s public key, it could give you a public key that seems to be from a third party like the government. For a protected security we have the option of analyzing the provided key with the help of you friend using a security code.
Anyhow when someone reinstalls the application or gets a new mobile a new public key is generated by the server. It is important to note that when these issues happen to like to verify the key again. But in Whatsapp application, this option is not given and that is why it is considered as data security vulnerability.
Considering the fact that every Smartphone application faces security risks, it’s better for the Whatsapp users to be safe in sharing their personal information. Steps can be taken to reduce the vulnerability issues but it is impossible to completely prevent the scammers in stealing the information in Smartphone application.
Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Zoplay, best PHP scripts development company located in India. Zoplay is a part of Casperon Technologies a leading social and mobile development company which is developing , leading innovative and collaborative software development teams to deliver major software applications like SCIMBO - Whatsapp Clone Script. I'm a Tech geek, Digital marketing expert, Entrepreneur, and Atheist who loves to write everything about PHP Scripts and mobile application development.