The online messaging application from WhatsApp is ubiquitous in the life of each of us. However, it is not perfect.
WhatsApp has 2 billion monthly users, and it has gained popularity following the introduction of end-to-end encryption in 2016, which promises to secure all your messages.
But here’s why you shouldn’t trust the security methods introduced by Facebook’s messaging platform.
Ai six reasons which should at least make you think about how much you reveal through the WhatsApp messaging service, if not even make you give it up permanently.
WhatsApp tracks your activity
WhatsApp does not have access to the content of the messages you send – due to end-to-end encryption – but collects any other information. According to its policy, this includes information about your business, including interactions with other users of their services, as well as the frequency and duration of your activities and interactions.
Specifically, WhatsApp does not know what you are talking about, but it knows where you are talking, with whom and for how long. Depending on your security settings on your phone, WhatsApp and anyone else who has access to your phone number can see your profile picture, nickname, status and the last time you were online.
Although they seem harmless, this metadata reveals patterns of behavior and can be used for malicious purposes, so it might be a good idea to at least check what security settings you have on your phone.
WhatsApp sells you to big companies
After WhatsApp was sold to Facebook in 2014 in exchange for $ 22 billion, Brian Acton, the former owner of the messaging platform, confessed that the choice was a compromise.
According to Acton, Facebook executives intended to turn WhatsApp into an advertising platform and, for that, they needed to sell users’ data like Facebook and Instagram do. For this reason, Acton left, refused to sign a confidentiality agreement and lost $ 850 million.
This means that your data can be easily used for various purposes by Facebook.
WhatsApp does not want to reveal how it was programmed
Although it sounds like a security measure, the opposite is true. The software is much more secure when its coding is public, so that independent experts can examine the defects and potential weaknesses. Having learned so many reasons why WhatsApp cannot be considered a secure platform, I need alternatives, of course.
Signal, Threema, Wickr and Wire are variants with a higher degree of security, but when it comes to technology, perfection is definitely out of the question.
WhatsApp can hand you over to the police
Technology companies work with the authorities, so in some cases, investigators may ask the company for information about you.
“We are ready to respond to any requests from the authorities, if they comply with the law,” WhatsApp said on a page created especially for the authorities.
It may not be a bad thing, in situations where certain serious crimes can be solved through the platform, but the power of the police and its local influence differ and shape the reasons why the authorities may request access to personal data.
In this case, accessing the data may not always be motivated.
WhatsApp sees your profile picture and status
To keep the messages, you usually back up relatively constantly, in most cases. WhatsApp also reminds you to do this, in any case.
Such an action would not present any risk, if we consider that WhatsApp promises to secure messages. What is somehow hidden, however, is the information that messages saved in the cloud do not retain end-to-end encryption. “The files and messages you back up are not protected by end-to-end encryption,” explains WhatsApp on the FAQ page.
This means that the protection of the data you send through WhatsApp messages is effective until the first back-up. Subsequently, the messages can be accessed.
WhatsApp requires access to your entire contact list
Although normally, logic would guide you to believe that WhatsApp will ask you for access to contacts that are also registered on the platform, the clues lead in a completely different direction.
WhatsApp communicates that has regular access to your contacts, even from outside the platform, that is, to those in your phone’s address book that do not use WhatsApp. Although you may be denied access to these contacts, the app will no longer work optimally, so you will no longer be able to see who is calling you or initiate WhatsApp calls.