WhatsApp flaw reveals when users are messaging and sleeping

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A few months back, WhatsApp announced that it has achieved 1 million daily active users and that it protects their data with end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp flaw reveals when users are messaging and sleeping

With this data encryption practice, WhatsApp claims that no one including the company itself can break code and get to read the content of the messages those are sent by the users of the messaging service. However, Robert Heaton, a software engineer has proved these claims by WhatsApp to be wrong via TheNextWeb. He has come across a vulnerability that lets anyone to know when two WhatsApp users are likely messaging each other and when they are asleep.

Also read: WhatsApp beta for Android gets granular storage control feature

Well, Heaton claims that using the online status and last seen features on WhatsApp, a person can get to know if two contacts are messaging each other. Anyone can analyze these figures and get an idea of the users' sleeping patterns. The last seen will let everyone to access the data but users can hide it from others. However, the online status on WhatsApp information cannot be hidden in any way.

Also read: WhatsApp Business will be launched as a standalone app

Heaton claims that the online status information can be used to find when two contacts are messaging each other. First, he created a Chrome extension letting him monitor when his contacts are actually online with the WhatsApp Web app. This extension takes only four lines of Javascript. This information is compared to the activity of another contact. On analyzing the data, he could make out that two of his contacts were communicating with each other. Notably, the same vulnerability applies to Facebook as well.

Knowing the sleep patterns of the WhatsApp and Facebook users is something that the online advertisers would crave to collect and this vulnerability on the messaging apps should come to an end for the benefit of the users.

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