Experts find WhatsApp groups can be infiltrated: Here's how

WhatsApp

The fact that those controlling WhatsApp's servers can access group messages destroys the idea of end-to-end encryption which was introduced to ensure that even messaging services won't be able to access individual communications.

This means if a government was to ask WhatsApp to reveal your private messages, it would be impossible.

Research by cryptographers from Ruhr University Bochum shows that anyone who controls WhatsApp's servers can secretly add people to group chats.

While this does sound rather scary, it should be noted that this can only happen if someone somehow manages to gain control of WhatsApp's servers, and presumably WhatsApp has security measures in place to prevent that from happening. However, an admin is the only one who can invite new members to the group, but WhatsApp doesn't have a mechanism to authenticate that invitation which its own server can spoof.

Group chat app Signal was found to have the same problem as WhatsApp, but as well as controlling the server the attacker also needs to know the chat's Group ID - which is nearly impossible to know without having physical access to one of the phones in the message thread.

WhatsApp said it had "carefully looked" at the flaw and reassured users that their encrypted messages were safe.

WhatsApp is yet to respond to this report.

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German researchers have claimed there is a way to infiltrate WhatsApp's group chats and listen on private messages, despite its end-to-end encryption.

"If someone hacks the WhatsApp server, they can obviously alter the group membership". The security researchers have argued that security protocols on group chats will need to be enhanced in light of the vulnerabilities pointed out by them. Someone with control of WhatsApp's servers can add a new person to a group without administrator even knowing, is what the researchers claim.

So if you see someone new entering your group, speak to the other members in private chats to confirm the new person's identity.

A WhatsApp spokesman confirmed their findings with the Wired but said the platform is built to notify users of any new additions made to a group chat or can check "Group info" to verify the same.

WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption to assure users that their conversations can not be accessed, even if the company providing it so desires.

If you're a group admin, you can also go into the "Group Info" settings and kick specific users from your chat.

"The confidentiality of the group is broken as soon as the uninvited member can obtain all the new messages and read them", says Paul Rösler, one of the Ruhr University researchers told Wired. "An attacker who compromises the Telegram server can, undetected, recover every message that was sent in the past and receive all messages transmitted in the future without anyone receiving any notification at all". The privacy and security of our users is incredibly important to WhatsApp. If they add themselves to the group: 1.

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