Researchers claim WhatsApp group chats vulnerable, company denies

Researchers claim WhatsApp group chats vulnerable, company denies

A team of German cryptographers has discovered flaws in WhatsApp's group chats despite its end-to-end encryption, that makes it possible to infiltrate private group chats without admin permission.

A WhatsApp bug that allows anyone to infiltrate private group chats has been uncovered by researchers.

According to a report in Wired.com, the cryptographers from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany announced this at the "Real World Crypto Security Conference" in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday. In Signal's case, the same group chat attack in WhatsApp is also found in the app. "If I hear there's end-to-end encryption for both groups and two-party communications, that means adding of new members should be protected against".

The research findings totally negates the value of end-to-end encryption brought by WhatsApp nearly two years ago.

However, Facebook which owns WhatsApp has downplayed the news by assuring that only authorised personnel are allowed to access WhatsApp servers.

He objected to the report saying that WhatsApp has multiple ways to check and verify members in a group chat. Someone with control of WhatsApp's servers can add a new person to a group without administrator even knowing, is what the researchers claim.




But the flaw can only be exploited if attackers can get access to WhatsApp's servers. The security flaw allows anyone who has access to servers add new members to group chat without administrator's permission.

WhatsApp representative said that if this would happen and someone would add new people to group chat, members would be warned about it. WhatsApp has confirmed the findings, but doesn't think it's a major security issue. "The main exception to this is former group members, who already know the group ID - and can now add themselves back to the group with impunity".

However, there's potential for sophisticated hackers to use techniques to selectively block new group messages, as once the new member is added the encryption keys are shared between phones using WhatsApp, which would help interlopers avoid immediate detection.

WhatsApp representatives told Wired there would be no fixes as a result of the research and that notifications of new chat additions are warning enough. All group members will see that the attacker has joined. "For example, it would be interesting to analyze the group chat implementations of other Signal-based messaging protocols, such as Google's Allo, Wire, and Facebook Messenger, or even non Signal-based protocols similarly to our investigation of Threema".

"While our investigation focuses on three major instant messaging applications, our methodology and the underlying model is of generic objective and can be applied to other secure group instant messaging protocols as well", researchers concluded in the paper.

Related Articles

  • Super Mario Odyssey update will add minigame and other cool features

    Super Mario Odyssey update will add minigame and other cool features

    In the "hide it" mode, you race against the 30-second timer to conceal balloons in the hardest to find places on the board. Here are the Sunshine Shades and Sunshine Outfit, the Musician Hat and Musician Outfit, and the Knight Helmet and Armor.
    Trump White House clears path for Medicaid work requirement

    Trump White House clears path for Medicaid work requirement

    Thursday's administration guidance spells out safeguards that states should consider in seeking work requirements . Ten states, all of which have Republican governors, recently applied for waivers to impose work requirements .
    All-electric concept vehicle to debut at CES 2018

    All-electric concept vehicle to debut at CES 2018

    Woong-chul Yang said: "Kia's connected cars will be both boundless and connected and offer a new kind of mobility experience". For example, the Niro EV Concept could theoretically limit its maximum power if it recognized a teen driver behind the wheel.
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian citizenship

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian citizenship

    Assange has remained within the embassy for fear that he will be extradited to the US for prosecution over WikiLeaks if he leaves. A statement by Assange's legal team said: "The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language".
    Google Pay: Google brings Android Pay and Google Wallet under single brand

    Google Pay: Google brings Android Pay and Google Wallet under single brand

    Google has announced that it is merging its Android Pay and Google Wallet into a new service called Google Pay . Android Pay was primarily created to allow people to make simple and secure payments from their mobile phones.
    Kawhi Leonard Dealing With Partial Tear in Left Shoulder

    Kawhi Leonard Dealing With Partial Tear in Left Shoulder

    The Spurs took an extra cautious route with Kawhi Leonard's return and have maintained that path upon his return. We need him", veteran Manu Ginobili said.
  • Astros trade for Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, reports says

    Astros trade for Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, reports says

    Right now the Yankees have Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery in their rotation. His home-run rate spiked dramatically to 1.4 per nine after allowing 0.6 per nine for the first four years of his career.
    Ohio Department of Health reports state's first pediatric flu death of season

    Ohio Department of Health reports state's first pediatric flu death of season

    More outbreaks have been reported so far this year than in previous years at this time, indicating a more severe influenza season. There have been more than 38,000 total flu-associated hospitalizations in OH since flu season began last October.
    Weather Forecast: Active weather this week

    Weather Forecast: Active weather this week

    Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with a high near 59 degrees and a 70 percent chance of rain in the evening. Saturday night , the low will be around 5, according to the weather service.
  • Optimism rises for curtailing FISA in House showdown

    Optimism rises for curtailing FISA in House showdown

    Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said. "No one could believe it", another Republican supportive of the FISA reauthorization said. The Senate must still pass the bill before it is sent to the White House for the president's signature.
    Patricia to Giants?

    Patricia to Giants? "All Signs" Point to 'Yes'

    Many believed he'd be headed to the Lions, but it has since been reported that he favors the Giants over the other two teams. Leonard said Patricia is expected to be named as the next coach of the Giants , replacing the fired Ben McAdoo.
    Injured After Fire Breaks Out at Trump Tower

    Injured After Fire Breaks Out at Trump Tower

    President Trump, who owns the building and keeps an apartment in the skyscraper, is now in Washington DC. After more than 70 firefighters responded, the fire was declared under control by 8:15 am.