WhatsApp group chats might not be so secure and can easily be infiltrated without permission of the group admin, according to a team of German security researchers. Basically, they have found a way to breach WhatsApp's security to infiltrate into group chats despite the end-to-end encryption technology.
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. Only a group admin can add or remove any member in that group chat.
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Yesterday, we reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray asked messaging apps and social media companies to create encryption backdoors exclusively for authorities so that they could nab criminals and deter crimes without compromising the security of the public at large.
"If someone hacks the WhatsApp server, they can obviously alter the group membership".
According to the report, while Signal and Threema's flaws were not so serious, with WhatsApp they released that anyone with control of the app's servers could insert new people into private groups. The server then checks that the user is authorized to administer that group, and (if so), it sends a message to every member of the group indicating that they should add that user.
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He said that there are multiple ways to verify group chat members, adding that users are notified of anyone new joining, including those without permission. As a result, any potential flaw that impacts WhatsApp's privacy is cause for concern, ' says Jing Xie, senior digital security researcher at Venafi.
Update: A WhatsApp spokesperson responded to BGR India saying, "We've looked at this issue carefully". However, with Signal, an impostor would need to control the Signal server, and would need to know the Group ID and the phone number of one member, researchers said in the paper. In such a case, it is impossible for them to share details with enforcement agencies that they themselves can not access. But many attacks on encrypted systems don't break the encryption - they bypass it as the processes around the encrypted data are usually far weaker than even bad encryption. "WhatsApp is built so group messages can not be sent to hidden users and provides multiple ways for users to confirm who receives a message prior to it being sent", Stamos said. "There is no way to suppress this message". "The chat app in 2016 brought the chat end-to-end encryption". The attackers might send spoofed messages in order to prevent the administrator from removing spy from the private conversation.
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