WhatsApp’s Approach to Handle Malicious Applications

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Incessant attention is given by the popular instant messaging app WhatsApp with regards to the problem causing and disaster generating applications which may attempt to bypass the integrated security features of the app along with the much noted end-to-end encryption implemented in the app. This is in the middle of the venture taken by the app to inculcate the ruling bodies about the scanty details which it can provide them.

Identify Malicious Apps

Alan Kao who is at present a Software Engineer with regards to the WhatsApp brand noted that if any baleful applications which invade the app with malicious codes and undermines the app’s security features are identified and brought to the centre of attention, the brand will touch base with the Google Play Store so as to curb and remove such products which are enjoying a free reign in the App stores beforehand. This was announced to a given group of reporters previously on Monday.

Alan was involved in giving a reply as to how the third party apps which help in revamping and changing the wallpapers along with the status messages related to the Android Operating System serve to affect, undermine and weaken the integrated fortified, security features of the instant messaging app.

In normal circumstances, the group related to functioning and that of the legal aspects of the apps identify, monitor and isolate the working of such apps and in addition, the user base can also contribute a substantial worth related to the research which proves to be very much handy and helpful.

Encryption

Furthermore, Alan elucidated as to how the End to End Encryption proves to be effective with relation to the instant messaging app where the messages which are conveyed between a given sender and recipient are encoded and encrypted such that the data cannot be deciphered at all even by the WhatsApp servers. This proves effective in restricting the information which the governments want access to, related to the event where they ask the information related to a legal or probing aspect and needs.

Alan noted that WhatsApp team is an integral part of Facebook, where the reports are analyzed and the brand associates itself with a strong bond from the government base in the event there is an emergency and they need to avail the brand’s help.

However, the roadblock is in the form of encryption associated with the messages which serve to hamper the aspect of the messages being readable. The WhatsApp message content can be made readable and decoded only by the sender and the recipient of the message. Hence in the event, the ruling bodies want to avail the messages, unfortunately, there is no way for WhatsApp to facilitate the same, he mentioned.

Information Privacy

Taking the last two years, India has is the second largest body which provides requests for the information to be removed. The leading nation requested to request the same is the United States.

In regards to the above, the Indian nation had raised 7289 requests related to user data last year in the time frame from the month of July to December. In the previous half of last year, these metrics stood at 6324 respectively.

Such requests are facilitated by the ruling bodies when they assume and sense that something is amiss and is enjoying a free reign by steering clear ahead of the laws and standards and they avail the support of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to curb the access with relation to that information.

The advent of transparency reports has developed into the embraced standard for several technological and internet based establishments encompassing Apple, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. This is in effect due to the impact of the exposure made by previous US National Security Agency related agent Edward Snowden some four years back regarding information about the government monitoring schemes.

It has been three years since WhatsApp was subject to acquisition by Facebook and at present, the requests associated with takedown have been integrated with the instant messaging app included as well.

The question as to whether the social media giant will get associated itself with the requests made to WhatsApp, a spokesperson replied anonymously and vaguely by stating that the company will reveal the answer when the time finally arrives.

Coming to the case of Facebook, the posts are visible for everybody or a select few to view. On the contrary for WhatsApp, the messages are not visible to anybody leaving apart the sender and recipient of the messages as they are subject to end to end encryption rigorously.

In the event attempts and ventures are made by the service providers or WhatsApp to capture and decipher the message, they will be featured with only a jumbled collection of data which cannot be comprehended.

Coming to the case of WhatsApp and the other brands which manipulate and integrate end to end encryption can, however, share the metadata to the ruling bodies when they request for availing data from WhatsApp.

The metadata comprises of data related to who sent a message and when, the mobile number manipulated, the display picture, IP address, the contact book, status related details and the time when a WhatsApp chatting was registered. However, the exact content related to the chatting will remain confidential and cannot be availed or decoded by the instant messaging app. There are no alternatives and the remaining and only way to get the content of the WhatsApp messages and conversations can be done by availing the smartphone.

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