Earlier this month, security researchers presenting at a conference revealed how the Facebook-owned chat platform WhatsApp could be hacked to change both the text of a message and the name of the sender. To make matters worse, the researchers said they first reached out to Facebook last year, but the problem remains unaddressed.
The researchers identified three methods that attackers could use to exploit this security flaw, but Facebook only addressed one of the issues. In fact, the company denied that the problem was a problem at all, saying that by following the researchers’ recommendations, it could actually expose more information.
“We need to be mindful that addressing concerns raised by these researchers could make WhatsApp less private, such as storing information about the origin of messages,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
However, experts are not convinced, and believe Facebook could be leaving 1.5 billion WhatsApp users around the world vulnerable to hacking.
“Facebook must address this or risk exposing their users to even more attacks,” said cybersecurity expert Stuart Peck. “If Facebook doesn’t address this vulnerability then users should consider swapping to another encrypted messaging service such as Signal.”
Given all of Facebook’s recent privacy scandals, it’s curious to see the company so nonchalant about this one. Here’s hoping it comes to its senses and closes these security gaps soon.
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