“Hey! There I am Using WhatsApp”
Today, In this Modern era WhatsApp is used in every phone platform be it android, iOS, blackberry or any other smartphone platform. Though its basic feature is to exchange messages, today WhatsApp has evolved itself into more technologically advanced and imminent part of our lives.It has traversed demography, geography and even literacy barriers. Within this small time of span it has attracts 450 million active users monthly.
The Origin of WhatsApp
Unless you have been living under a rock, you must be aware of how wider has the reach of WhatsApphas been these days. Two former employees of Yahoo, Brian Acton and Jan Koum laid the foundation of WhatsApp in 2009. Knowing how deep the water is before one dives in it is important, the same way Koum realized the potential of the app industry on the App Store after purchasing an iPhone. WhatsApp was then named to sound like “what’s up”.On February 24, 2009, WhatsApp Inc. was incorporated in California. Gains were not easily coming and when early versions of WhatsAppcrashed, they started losing hope but eventually they pushed themselves forward to wait and work for it.
WhatsApp 2.0 was released with a messaging component and the number of active users suddenly increased to 250,000.Before joining the company Acton was still unemployed and managing another start-up. In October 2009, Acton persuaded five former friends in Yahoo! to invest $250,000 in seed funding, and Acton became a co-founder. After working on beta stage, the application eventually launched in November 2009 exclusively on the App Store for the iPhone. By early 2011, WhatsApp was one of the top 20 apps in Apple’s U.S. App Store.
The Lurking risks
Vulnerability is the only bridge to build connections, as rightly said by Brene Brown, “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if want to experience connection” and that is the kind of risk we put ourselves out through daily. The sort of vulnerability we are prone to is actively seeking ways for lookout and out casting the trust of common people. Easy to access, widely used, and outside of enterprise control, social media sites are gold mines for malicious actors. A recent NopSec 2016 State of Vulnerability Risk Management Report found that organizations use inadequate risk evaluation scoring systems. Social media which isn’t included in any sort of risk evaluation system, hadbecome the top platform for cybersecurity.
Those that are quick to see security tools as an answer to a vulnerability score are potentially being too simplistic, Durbin said. “The whole risk arena is becoming more complex. They need to be rethinking how they measure vulnerabilities, not just complying with compliance”. WhatsApp has strengthened their security over recent years by adding two-step verification, and automatic end-to-end encryption. Despite this, there are still some security threats.
- Web Malware
Some attackers created malicious software downloads that would masquerade as WhatsApp Desktop applications. It asks for the phone number in order to “connect you to the service” but in reality use it to bombard your WhatsApp with spam messages.
- Unencrypted Backups
WhatsApp end-to-end encryption means that only your device has the ability to decode them. This prevents the messages being intercepted during transmission. On both iOS and Android it is possible to create a backup of the messages on iCloud or Google Drive. The backups that WhatsApp creates contain the decrypted messages on the device. The backup itself is not encrypted. If someone wants access to messages, they will need the latest copy of the daily backup. It is also vulnerable as there is no ability to change the backup location, means that we are at the mercy of the cloud service to keep the data protected.
- Encryption Vulnerabilities
In January 2017, The Guardian published a story and claimed that WhatsApp’s implementation on encryption protocol could be exploited. While the messages are end-to-end encrypted so that it can’t be read while transmission, messages are decrypted locally on the phone. For receiving the messages each user has his security key for their devices. This key can be changed when reinstalling the app or moving to a new phone.
So, with social media interactions we make ourselves both physically and mentally vulnerable. Physically in way that we just cannot get our gadgets out our sight and at a distance since gadgets are the most prized possession for any individual and mentally in a way that we are always waiting for that “ping pingping”, another text, another news.
Safeguarding against Vulnerabilities
The Digital Movement has made us digitally dependent and vulnerable at the same time.In 2015, theft of hard intellectual data increased by 56% and 38% more security incidents were detected in 2014. But there is an antidote to it i.e Ethical hackers who are computer expertise and reverse the damage done. They basically prevents the personal data and ruining someone life as well. There are also cyber laws which crack down on such acts. This is the reason that cyber job postings are up by 74%. Global spending on information security has increased by 4.7%. As everybody is using WhatsAppand nobody knows how to use it securely, companies like What After Collegewho provides with the necessary training on Android App or ethical hacking and many more.What after College aims to empower students by helping them understand different career options in cyber security and attaining their dream career by equipping them with the right set of skills.
There is no debate when it comes to security, as security above personal data is vital. In 21st century with the advance in technology, everything we hold to our dear ones is vulnerable. The havoc it has started to create in the lives of millions has caught fire in a very volatile way. So to be secure everyone needs to get awareness on the booming technology.