WhatsApp has introduced end-to-end encryption across the app and made all conversations on the group private, meaning no third-party can read them, be it government, criminals or even WhatsApp itself.
According to a Wired report, the flaws allow a person with the control of WhatsApp's servers to add anyone to a WhatsApp group without admin permission. The researchers say there are many risks in group chats where the hacker has control of the server, because they can then manipulate who gets what messages, delete messages and more.
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.
The attacker can break the transport layer security and take full control over a group. "The article makes a few key points". In a statement to Wired, the company said, "We've looked at this issue carefully..."
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.
This means they have access to all future messages, but can not view past ones. The privacy and security of our users is incredibly important to WhatsApp. "And if not, the value of encryption is very little", further added Paul Rosler. "But there is no [sic] a secret way into WhatsApp groups chats", he tweeted. WhatsApp has since confirmed this flaw, but they also told WIRED that no one can secretly add group members without the knowledge of the other members in the group.
Only admins can add new members to private groups.
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"WhatsApp is built so group messages can not be send to hidden users and provides multiple ways for users to confirm who receives a message prior to it being sent". Entering the group however leaves traces since this operation is listed in the graphical user interface.
The membership of a group can be seen by tapping on "group info".
With over 1.2 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is available in more than 50 different languages around the world and in 10 Indian languages.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp added end-to-end encryption to every conversation two years ago. Once an attacker with control of the WhatsApp server had access to the conversation, he or she could also use the server to selectively block any messages in the group, including those that ask questions, or provide warnings about the new entrant.
According to WABetaInfo, a fan site that tests new WhatsApp features early, the popular mobile messaging platform has submitted the "Restricted Groups" setting via Google Play Beta Programme in the version 2.17.430. Prior messages can not be read by the new, uninvited member.
Open Whisper Systems, the creators of Signal, told Wired that they are now redesigning how Signal handles group messaging, but did not share any more than that.