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WhatsApp Messenger

Product
Developers: WhatsApp
Date of the premiere of the system: 2009/06/12
Last Release Date: 2019/12/18
Branches: Internet services
Technology: IP telephony,  Video conferencing

Content

This article about the messenger. Article about the company: WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is message exchange software, free. A private commercial product for smartphones.

WhatsApp uses the modified Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol protocol (XMPP earlier known as Jabber). At installation the account on the s.whatsapp.net server using the phone number as a user name is created (Jabber ID: [phone number] of @s.whatsapp.net). The version under Android automatically uses as the password a MD5 hash from the changed identifier IMEI, and the version under iOS uses a MD5 hash from the MAC address.

WhatsApp automatically synchronizes the contact list with the telephone directory of phone.

The subscription for use by service was levied in the amount of ~ by $1 every year, from second year of use, or (for the Apple platform) single payment upon purchase of the application.

Audience

2020: 2 billion users a month

In February, 2020 WhatsApp reached 2 billion active users a month.

2018: Daily and monthly audience in Russia

Data for 2018

2017: Daily more than 1 billion people use WhatsApp

WhatsApp developers stated in the summer of 2017 in the official blog that for communication more than 1 billion people in the world daily use service. It is said in the statement: "Last year we shared news that one billion people use WhatsApp worldwide every month. Today we are glad and proud to tell you that one billion people use WhatsApp worldwide every day to stay in touch with the relatives, friends and family".

On information published in the blog, the monthly audience of WhatsApp makes 1.3 billion people, daily 55 billion messages, 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion video files are transmitted through the messenger.

2016: 1 billion users

On February 1, 2016 in the blog founders of WhatsApp said - service overcame a level in 1 billion users.

2020

In WhatsApp a new useful opportunity appeared

The WhatsApp messenger will receive function of recognition of QR codes. It is implemented in the beta of the application for iOS, and later will appear also on Android devices.

According to WABetaInfo, using the scanner of QR codes it will be possible to add the person to the contact list quickly. Fast adding of contact by the QR code works as follows: one of interlocutors generates native code in the WhatsApp application, and then the second scans it the camera - also in the messenger. Together with the code also the mobile number is transferred.

If the user considers that he transferred the QR code not to that person or published it not where planned, it can withdraw the code and generate new. The old code will become after that invalid. It is possible to repeat such transaction any number of times.

The largest bank of the USA dismisses and reduces awards to employees who use WhatsApp at work

On April 8, 2020 it became known that JPMorgan Chase began to fine and dismiss employees for use of WhatsApp at work. The bank, largest in the USA, undertakes these measures, being afraid of privacy policy violation. Read more here.

Russian court for the first time considered case via WhatsApp

At the end of March, 2020 Russian court for the first time considered case using  WhatsApp. About it journalists were told by the head of the human rights Agora group Pavel Chikov.

According to him, the judge of Nevyansky city court of Sverdlovsk region using a video call in the messenger considered case of administrative offense concerning the local entrepreneur whose cafe functioned during the quarantine. As punishment the court banned the activity of this institution for the term of 45 days.

In Sverdlovsk region the court made the decision via WhatsApp

It is about nevyansky cafe "Simba", specified in regional government of Federal Bailiff Service whose employees sealed up institution doors.

Work of shopping centers, cafe, restaurants, shops in the area was limited since March 28, 2020 for an indefinite term. In regions of Russia restrictions and bans on activity of the enterprises of a public catering entered everywhere, they can work only in the mode of remote trade or on carrying out, but not accept visitors. 

In  March, 2020 the Russian courts  limited  hearing of cases. Izza of a pandemic cases of immediate character and  the simplified production will be considered now. To courts recommended "initiate hearing of cases  using the systems of a video conferencing".

Such meetings  were connected to administrative cases  in Kazan twice. The Vakhitovsky district court in both cases fined activists by video conference.[1]

Legal service "Apology of a protest" notes that in connection with restriction of work of the courts because of a coronavirus the judge at first refused to consider case of the activist, and later decided to make it on Skype. According to legal service, "such form of the organization of consideration of the case is no more than the parody to fair judicial proceedings and is not provided by the law".

Access to 470 thousand private chats of WhatsApp appeared in Google search engine

At the end of February, 2020 the journalist of the German edition Deutsche Welle Jordan Uildon warned the subscribers on twitter that WhatsApp chats "can be not so safe as it seems to you". According to him, access to 470 thousand private chats of WhatsApp appeared in Google search engine (Google Search).

The "Invite in Group on the Link" function allows to index private chats in Google, and thanks to search setups it is possible to find practically any private chat. Most often links of Google conducted on pages with a pornography, however there were also public groups: in one members of the non-governmental organizations accredited by the UN communicated. After the introduction in group it was possible to get phone numbers of all participants of a chat.

Invitations in private chats of WhatsApp got to open access

It is supposed that parent company WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google was known about it within many months. The researcher of security of @hackrzvijay notified WhatsApp and Facebook on such problem earlier, but the companies did not pay attention to his words, referring to the reply of Google. One of "white" hackers who is engaged in reengineering of applications confirmed that the fault completely lies with WhatsApp - group pages at all not necessarily are subject to indexation, and for solution it was required to change the code only a little. Soon after Uildon's message WhatsApp corrected an error of indexation of private chats in Google, however in other large search systems this hole is still available by February 25, 2020.

The representative of WhatsApp said that invitations in private chats should not be published in open access, otherwise they will be available to all users.[2]

The programmer Tommy Mysk detected vulnerability which allows applications to get for iOS access to iPhones copied to a clipboard or iPad this.  It means that swindlers can get access practically to any personal information of the user, under the threat there are including given bank cards also passwords.

Why to traders on Wall Street prohibit to use WhatsApp

In the middle of January, 2020 it became known that JPMorgan Chase and other companies with Wall Street prohibits the traders to use WhatsApp. The main reason — impossibility of banks to control correspondences of employees.

Edward Koo who worked in JPMorgan Chase of nearly 20 years was dismissed because used a group chat of WhatsApp for communication with colleagues. At the same time the bank does not exclude taking measures and against other members of the group. Incident emphasizes the growing concern of Wall Street concerning use of unauthorized message exchange systems which can bypass checks of compliance to the policy of the company.

PMorgan Chase and other companies with Wall Street prohibits the traders to use WhatsApp

According to Bloomberg, the group chat included in WhatsApp in which Edward Ku participated less than 20 employees of JPMorgan and was used for discussion of market affairs and another stories between colleagues. The bank has no proofs that in a chat any corporate secrets were discussed, and internal investigation will probably end in several weeks.

Regulatory bodies, as a rule, do not prohibit employees to use WhatsApp, but require that banks undertook reasonable measures on monitoring of communications of the employees. These measures allow banks to reveal illegal activity, from market manipulation before insider trade in time. However WhatsApp ciphers all messages that prevents banks to control a situation. Employees often use this application for communication with friends that does not allow banks to impose a total ban on use of WhatsApp.

The source of Bloomberg familiar with internal investigation of JPMorgan, also reported that the bank notified the key regulators, including the Federal reserve, the Commission on the exchanges and securities and Management of the controller of currency, on use of unauthorized message exchange systems. JPMorgan refrained from comments at the request of news agency.[3]

2019

Elimination of a problem of failures in group chats

On December 18, 2019 the Check Point company reported that thanks to the research Check Point the problem of failures in group chats of WhatsApp is fixed.

Thanks to the research Check Point the problem of failures in group chats of WhatsApp is fixed

According to the company, specialists of Check Point detected serious vulnerability in the WhatsApp application which can be used by the unique user for violation of work of all messenger at all participants of the chat selected by it. Because of the found vulnerability all history of messages in a group chat will be lost forever.

Check Point urges all users of WhatsApp to be updated as soon as possible to the latest version of the application. Effects for users are so serious that they should delete and download the messenger again, however and it does not give the chance to return to a chat. Eventually, they should delete a chat to interrupt a vicious circle of errors in the application that brings to loss of all messages in it.

Hackers use this vulnerability to initiate a vicious circle of fatal errors in the messenger. They adhere to the following sequence in the actions:

  • At the beginning the malefactor enters in advance selected group chat in WhatsApp and behaves as its full-fledged participant (WhatsApp allows to create groups for 256 people).
  • Further he changes certain parameters and sends harmful messages to a chat, using WhatsApp Web and the instrument of debugging of the web browser.
  • At the last stage the hacker initiates a vicious circle of failures for all members of a group chat, prohibiting users access to all WhatsApp functions.

The received results supplement data of the previous research Check Point published in 2019. Then experts of the company proved that the hacker can intercept and change messages of WhatsApp.

During the last research the Check Point Research command detected vulnerability of the messenger. Specialists checked communication between the WhatsApp application and its web version which in accuracy copies all messages sent and received by the user's smartphone then displays them in the browser. Usually, when the user of WhatsApp sends the message to a group chat, the application checks its phone number that allows to define who exactly sent the message. Experts of Check Point detected an opportunity to manipulate it and other parameters for personal reasons.

Check Point officially published the results on August 28, 2019 within the WhatsApp program for search of errors in the application. The messenger recognized a problem and developed its solution which was added to versions 2.19.58. WhatsApp gave the chance to update the application in the middle of September, 2019 and added the updated control facilities which, as expected, will be able to prevent hit of users in undesirable group chats and to avoid interaction with cybercriminals.

Termination of support of old versions of OS

On December 9, 2019 it became known of the fast termination of support of WhatsApp of old versions of mobile operating systems. As a result millions of users will be left without access to the messenger — in some devices or installation of more relevant firmware is impossible, or it is not recommended to be done not to slow down operation of the gadget.

Since December 31, 2019 WhatsApp will cease to work on phones which are based on Windows Phone. And since February 1 service will not work for owners of devices with Android of version 2.3.7 and is more senior and also iOS to the 8th version inclusive.

Since 2020 the WhatsApp application will be unavailable to many users of mobile devices

The administration of the messenger explained the solution with desire to support only those mobile platforms most of which of people in the world uses. The rest should update the smartphones or to refuse use of the messenger.

According to experts, support of each of versions of OS costs very impressive money and when the practical sense disappears, and support comes to an end. Besides, in the messenger there can be functions which cannot simply be implemented in old versions of Android and iOS.

«
Old versions of the operating system do not allow to provide fully a scope because it is necessary to build additional opportunities under each version, it is very problematic, and opportunities of those smartphones to ensure high-quality, smooth functioning, already technology is not enough — the CEO of the information and analytical agency TelecomDaily Denis Kuskov says. — Within two-three years most of people makes change of phone from old on new, and WhatsApp will not work on phones to which it is already much bigger years. Of course, people who want further to continue to use WhatsApp should purchase newer model.[4]
»

Messages in WhatsApp began to be removed automatically

At the end of November, 2019 it became known of emergence in WhatsApp of a new feature. It allows to delete automatically messages through the set period.

The option "Removal of Messages" appeared in the beta of WhatsApp 2.19.348 for operating system Android. Before function was partially implemented in earlier beta where it was called "Disappearing messages". Then function provided removal of messages in five seconds or in an hour.

The WhatsApp messenger allows users to configure automatic removal of the sent messages

It is possible to activate a possibility of automatic removal of messages in the menu of the messenger, having passed into information on contact or settings of a group chat. In the latter case administrators of a chat should permit an opportunity to erase records previously.

WhatsApp allows to set time through which the message will disappear. It can be hour, day, week, month or year. According to the WABetaInfo portal (specializes in news about WhatsApp), function it is compatible to the option of "the dark mode" which is in development.

The similar service is provided in  Telegram. The messenger allows to expose time of disappearance of messages in  a chat of  one second after reading.

Meanwhile, in November, 2019 in WhatsApp the privacy settings allowing to limit the group of people which can add the user to group chats were changed.

The innovation is accepted on the basis of the user feedback after the beginning of testing. The administration of service decided to impose a ban on adding in groups that those who work with the messenger had "more control" over the communication.

To include restriction, in the application in the section Account it is necessary to open the Confidentiality tab, then Groups and to select there one of three options. If the user limited number of those who can add him to chats, a system will suggest the creator of group to send to it the private message with the invitation which will be displayed within three days, and then will be automatically deleted.[5]

P. Durov criticizes security of WhatsApp

In May I foretold that vulnerabilities in WhatsApp will come to light, and serious problems in the field of security will follow one by one as was earlier" — Durov in the Telegram channel wrote in November, 2019.

According to him, new vulnerabilities of WhatsApp do open personal data of users for hackers and public institutions. "Everything that the hacker needed to make, it to send you video, and all your data appeared in the power of the malefactor" — he added.

Durov emphasized that WhatsApp "not only does not protect the message of users, but also is used as a trojan horse to monitor a photo and video which users store outside WhatsApp". According to him, the reason that Facebook which possesses the messenger participates in the program of the Agency of national security of the USA for collection of data on the population (PRISM).

Officials are around the world attacked via WhatsApp

At the end of October, 2019 it became known of a large-scale attack of hackers on the high-ranking officials via WhatsApp worldwide. Cybercriminals used vulnerability of the messenger for gaining access to smartphones more than 1.4 thousand users.

According to Reuters  with reference to the sources familiar with investigation, the most part of the victims is made by government and military officials of the countries, the majority of which are allies of the USA. In particular, under blow the Indian journalists, scientists, lawyers and defenders of community of Dalits in India got. Besides, it is about citizens of the USA, the UAE, Bahrain, Mexico, Pakistan.

Learned Reuters about cracking of smartphones of officials in the countries allies of USA

In WhatsApp notified affected users on last attack. The company did not begin to reveal names of clients whose accounts were hacked.

Malefactors installed on phones of users the software for shadowing using function of a call. And the malicious code could be transferred even if the person did not answer a call.

The main attack took place during the period from April 29 to May 10, 2019. Who stands behind cracking, the news agency does not know. It is supposed that hackers used the tool developed by the Israeli company NSO Group.

At the end of October, 2019 the administration of WhatsApp submitted a claim to federal court in San Francisco against NSO. In the claim it is told that NSO "developed the malware with the purpose to get access to messages and other communications after they were decrypted" on devices of users. Israelis reject charges, saying that they cooperate only with  state bodies  within investigation of crimes.

WhatsApp assured that already updated protection of a system and released update of the messenger to secure users.[6]

The authorities wanted to make calls to WhatsApp paid

On October 17, 2019 the authorities of Lebanon announced canceling of a so-called "tax on WhatsApp" after mass protests of inhabitants. Read more here.

WhatsApp will cease to work at old versions of IOS and Android

On September 30, 2019 it became known that the WhatsApp messenger completely will stop support of a number of obsolete operating systems, including early versions of IOS and Android. To have an opportunity to fully use this service, owners of gadgets with old software should or update a firmware on the smartphones, or to purchase more modern device.

The first, as stated on the official site of WhatsApp, under blow one and all users continuing to operate smartphones running Windows Phone OS will get. WhatsApp will cease to be started on these devices on December 31, 2019 on an absence reason of support of OS from developer – Microsoft company. Let's remind that Microsoft finally recognized Windows Phone in the dead fall of 2017. Meanwhile, at the time of the publication of the material WhatsApp it was still available in Microsoft Store shop though in the description it was told about its fast removal.

On February 1, 2020 the similar fate will comprehend iOS 8 and Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread – released the first Apple in 2014, and the second left in 2010. The support termination in this case means that users will have any more no opportunity to create the account or to repeatedly confirm the existing profiles. In other words, in case of reinstallation of the application or attempt of activation of the account the messenger will cease to work.

Failure from support of several operating systems will hardly make WhatsApp less popular in view of low demand for outdated versions of Android and iOS and the more so on dead Windows Phone. The share of the last in global market of mobile OS, integrated with a share of more modern Windows 10 Mobile (too it is dead) does not exceed 0.2%.

WhatsApp regularly stops support of outdated software platforms in process of a release of more modern and more demanded solutions. Less than a year ago, on January 1, 2019, ceased to work for one and all cell phones Nokia, based based on the Series 40 platform.

In 2019 modern cell phones (not smartphones) Nokia work based on the KaiOS platform. In WhatsApp there is its support, but the version of KaiOS should be 2.5.1 or is newer.[7]

Edward Snowden does not recommend to officials to use WhatsApp and Telegram

On September 16, 2019 Edward Snowden warned the high-ranking officials against use of WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), these messengers are unsafe. Read more here.

Phishing attack through a premium subscription to music service Spotify

On June 16, 2019 the international anti-virus company ESET announced a phishing attack in the WhatsApp messenger. The annual premium subscription to popular music service Spotify acts as a bait.

The potential victim receives the message with the offer to become the premium subscriber of Spotify. Having followed the link, the user gets on a phishing site with the special questionnaire. The appearance of the portal and its URL address remind the official site of Spotify.

After filling of the questionnaire the victim needs to send the link to "action" to 30 users of WhatsApp from the contact list — allegedly only after that the premium account will be activated.

The questionnaire which requires to be filled out obtaining the premium account

During passing of poll the user sees pop-up windows with warning of system infection. For blocking of threat it is required to press the Accept button, to pass into Google Play and to install the application which in practice is the program for advertizing demonstration.

Message forgery about system infection

As experts of ESET believe, the harmful campaign is directed mainly to inhabitants of Latin America.

Before ESET recorded a phishing attack where an opportunity to change color of the interface of the WhatsApp messenger acted as a bait. Use of similar instruments of the attack suggest that the same malefactors are involved in both campaigns.

Recommendations of ESET:

  • you do not follow the suspicious links even if they are sent by friends;
  • check information on profitable actions on the official sites of services, pay attention to the URL addresses;
  • study number of loadings, responses, ratings before downloading of the program from app stores;
  • use a reliable antivirus with functions of an anti-phishing and antispam.

The antispam of WhatsApp can be disconnected for $14. Politicians send on 100 thousand messages a day

In the middle of May, 2019 it became known that the software tools WhatsApp for only $14 help the Indian marketing specialists and political activists to bypass the anti-spam restrictions set by the messenger.

WhatsApp repeatedly faced a problem of abuse of the messenger in India – the largest market of the company about more than 200 million users. Due to elections which should come to the end in India on May 19, 2019 this problem rose even more sharply.

The software tools WhatsApp for only $14 help the Indian marketing specialists and political activists to bypass the anti-spam restrictions set by the messenger.

Earlier the WhatsApp service introduced tight restrictions on transfer of messages – it is possible to send information only to 20 chats at the same time, instead of 250 as was early. However software tools easily overcome these restrictions, allowing users to work with thousands of people at the same time. Rohitash Repswal said that it managed several months work of software worth 1,000 rupees ($14) which sent on behalf of one of political parties of India up to 100,000 messages of WhatsApp a day.

It became clear that within the political campaigns WhatsApp it was used by at least three methods. Some members of batches applied free online applications to creation of fake accounts manually to send the mass of messages. Others used software tools which allow users to automate delivery of messages of WhatsApp. And some firms suggested politicians to carry out bulk mailing of messages to WhatsApp from anonymous numbers, using special websites.

The modified versions of such popular applications became an everyday occurrence thanks to technically grounded fans. On the Indian Amazon website well to at least three similar software tools. They are delivered in the form of compact disks without any markings and names.[8]

Facebook plans start of own cryptocurrency in WhatsApp

On March 1, 2019 it became known that the plan of Facebook for implementation of own digital currency which people will be able to send and receive by WhatsApp so promoted that negotiations with the cryptocurrency exchanges on sale of a token are already conducted.

Staff of Facebook reported the exchanges — the digital currency can be provided in the first half of 2019.

So far this currency is intended only for WhatsApp, but further can become available to users of Facebook Messenger and Instagram thanks to plans of cooperation of three messengers.

The digital currency of Facebook will probably be tied to a basket of currencies of the different countries, including dollar and euro. It is supposed. that the blockchain technology will be its cornerstone.

Facebook created the blockchain division in 2018, having provided it freedom to work as a startup under the leadership of the former president of PayPal and the board member of Coinbase David Markus.

Facebook is not lonely: messengers Telegram and Signal too plan start of own cryptocurrency. They will be closer to bitcoin, with more decentralized approach and without binding to fiat currencies[9].

The safety feature of access to WhatsApp for IOS-DEVICES is added

On February 4, 2019 it became known that in belonging Facebook application WhatsApp for iOS- devices additional function security with support appeared biometric authentications. From now on users can block the application, and at each its start authentication on the person or a fingerprint will be requested (using sensors Face ID or Touch ID respectively).

This function was added to the version of WhatsApp 2.19.20., As reported in the description of the application in App Store shop, it is possible to include it, having come into Settings> the Account> Privacy. Though separate conversations cannot be blocked but only the application entirely, Screen Lock, certainly, adds the additional security level for correspondence privacy protection.

At the activated blocking function users will still be able to see notifications from WhatsApp and quickly to respond to messages within iOS, but for access to all application it will be required to undergo biometric authentication. If sensors of the mobile device suddenly will cease to recognize the person or a fingerprint, for an unblocking of WhatsApp it is possible to use the password for iPhone[10].

2018

Facebook will develop cryptocurrency for transfers via WhatsApp

Facebook works on creation of cryptocurrency which will allow users to transfer money through the WhatsApp application belonging to the company, Bloomberg with reference to the informed sources[11] reports in December, 2018].

According to the agency, the rate of new cryptocurrency will be tied to the US dollar exchange rate (such digital currencies whose volatility is lower, than at normal cryptocurrencies, call stablecoin), however Facebook should not expect it emergence in the nearest future: So far studies project parts.

Making the decision on start of own cryptocurrency, Facebook is guided first of all by the market of money transfers of India, interlocutors of Bloomberg told. In this country the WhatsApp messenger belonging to Facebook uses more than 200 million people. Besides, India — the leader in volumes of money transfers, in 2017 users from around the world transferred $69 billion to this country, Bloomberg with reference to data of the World Bank notes.

Vulnerability to side channel attacks

According to the message of December 13, 2018 researchers from Cisco Talos announced vulnerabilities in the popular messengers using enciphering. According to specialists, WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal it is possible to crack using side channel attacks. Read more here.

Emergence of advertizing

At the beginning of November, 2018 it became known of emergence in WhatsApp of advertizing. The vice president of the company Chris Daniels told about monetization of service.

According to him, advertizing will appear in the section Status — an analog of the Storis function in Instagram and Snapchat. Photos, videos and the animated GIF images in this section disappear in 24 hours after the publication.

«
It will become the main model of monetization for the company and also will give the chance to the companies to contact to people in WhatsApp — Daniels said. 
»

WhatsApp developers are going to monetize the application by advertizing in the statuses

The former management of WhatsApp was categorically against advertizing in the messenger as because of it as considered in the company, the command spends many forces for collecting of personal data, and users distract from affairs. Cofounders of WhatsApp left Facebook because of disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg concerning advertizing.

The co-founder of WhatsApp Brian Ekton  said that top managers of Facebook pressed on it in issues of monetization: for example, suggested to think up a method how to sell analytics of audience of WhatsApp. According to Ekton, Facebook tried to monetize WhatsApp even before purchase of service in 2014 for $19.3 billion.

Facebook was also going to create tools for business on the basis of these users of WhatsApp. In particular, for analytics and targeted advertizing. WhatsApp encryption system became a noise. The management of the messenger tried to save the ciphered environment.

By the beginning of November, 2018 the audience of WhatsApp makes about 1.5 billion people worldwide. About 450 million users use the Statuses function.[12]

In October, 2018 announced the Silicon portal that the WhatsApp messenger will begin to show to users targeted advertizing. On its information, advertizing messages can appear in  an upper part of the interface, since 2019.

Correction of vulnerability of capture of control over the application through RTP of a packet

On October 10, 2018 it became known that WhatsApp developers corrected vulnerability in versions of the messenger for Android - and IOS-DEVICES, allowing malefactors to take control over the application when the user answers the entering video call.

The problem was detected by the researcher of security Natalie Silvanovich from Google Project Zero in August, 2018. Silvanovich described vulnerability as "an error of damage of memory to implementation of the video conference which is not connected with WebRTC". According to the researcher, mobile application of WhatsApp can cause damage of dynamically distributed memory (heap) by sending in a special way the configured packet of RTP. So vulnerability can be exploited, having forced the victim to answer a video call.

The problem mentions only versions of WhatsApp for Android - and IOS-DEVICES as only in them for providing conference communication the RTP protocol is used. The desktop version of the messenger is not subject to vulnerability as for video calls WebRTC is used.

WhatsApp developers corrected a problem with an exit of updates[13].

WhatsApp recognized that everyone can reach correspondence of its users

The WhatsApp messenger officially told in September, 2018 to users that backup copies of chats which they save in Google Drive storage are not protected by end-to-end enciphering. Information was placed on the frequently asked questions page WhatsApp where there is an instruction for creation of backups in Google Drive.

Backups which are usually created by users of messengers on different cloud platforms allow to transfer chats to the new device when changing the smartphone. Creation of backup copies of chats is supported by WhatsApp, Viber and other messengers.

For users of IOS the lack of end-to-end enciphering in WhatsApp backups on Google Drive does not represent a big problem — they can select an option to save chats in iCloud where all data are ciphered by default. However users of Android have no choice — they can save chats only in Google Drive. Thus, the specialists having sufficient skills including representatives of intelligence agencies can get access to these chats which are not protected by end-to-end enciphering [14].

Hackers learned to change someone else's messages in WhatsApp

In August, 2018 in WhatsApp vulnerability which allows malefactors to get remote access to messages of other users was detected.

The lack of a security system of the messenger which specialists in cyber security of Check Point Software Technologies announced leads to the fact that hackers can edit the text of someone else's message and even to replace his author. It can lead to emergence of fake news in  the messenger. 

Analysts selected Check Point pointed to several methods "penetrations" in  a chat. For example,  using the Quote function in  a group chat it is possible to replace ID of the real sender  addressed to any other user even if he   does not correspond. Also there is an opportunity to send to the participant of group to private messages  the message disguised under a chat, and  then the answer of the addressee of the message will be visible to all participants of group.


Having intercepted and having edited the message, criminals make an impression that the participant of a chat sent the text which actually never was. Thus, hackers have an opportunity to manipulate interlocutors.

The problem is aggravated with the fact that WhatsApp  has a large number of users (more than 1.5 billion by August, 2018) who can suffer because of vulnerability.

The dangerous gap in a security system poses a huge threat as hackers using it can create and extend misinformation. The similar problem is particularly acute in India where in 2018  there were  tens of murders because of fake messages. The authorities of the country even thought of blocking of the messenger.

Hackers found dangerous vulnerability in WhatsApp which allows to intercept and change messages in private and group chats

In July, 2018 in WhatsApp the new feature for fight against fakes appeared. The innovation consisted in a mark "the sent message". According to developers, it was made for identification of the sender.[15]

Emergence of function of group calls

At the end of July, 2018 in WhatsApp function of group calls appeared what it is announced in the blog of service.

«
Our users spend for calls more than 2 billion minutes a day. We are glad to report that group audio-and video calls will be available in WhatsApp since today, says the messenger of July 30.
»

The number of users who can participate in one collective call is limited by four. Safety of such calls is ensured by end-to-end enciphering (end-to-end).

For the organization of a call with participation of several people at first it is necessary to call one of users, and after to press the button "add participants".[16]

Function of group audio-and video calls is available in upgraded version of the WhatsApp application to operating systems iOS and Android

In WhatsApp group video calls appeared

In 2018 WhatsApp developers focused on changes of the functionality connected with simultaneous communication of several users. In particular, there were changes in group correspondences. The feature to describe the purposes, rules or subjects of group was added. When in group new participants appear, they can see its description in an upper part of the screen.

The users who left group cannot be added to it any more. If the user long time did not visit a group chat, he will be able quickly to study messages, having clicked a new icon @ (is in the lower right corner).

Also the rights of administrators were improved. Now the creator of a chat will separately select people who will be able to change an avatar or the name of a conversation. It is possible to find any participant of group, having entered his name into search on the page with information on group.

«
Groups — very important part of the WhatsApp application as for members of the families living far apart and for the childhood friends using communication in groups always to stay in touch — the administration of service emphasized.
»

WhatsApp tests money transfers from the card for the card

Facebook began testing of service of money transfers with the card on the card in  the WhatsApp messenger.  In 1 quarter 2018 about 1%  of the users  of WhatsApp living in India will be connected to testing. In this country the messenger has more than 200 million users.

Besides,  WhatsApp to focus on implementation of a payment service for the users in trade and service companies. The translation service is constructed on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) interface which allows to make free of charge remittances between bank accounts.

In the Indian market of money transfers  WhatsApp it is necessary to compete with Google Tez, a local purse of Paytm and the state BHIM application and also with other services.

To teenagers in the EU closed access to WhatsApp

On April 25, 2018 there was information that inhabitants of the European Union will be able to use the WhatsApp messenger only on reaching 16-year age. Such rule is introduced in conditions of provision of services and privacy policy of the application.

The General regulations on data protection (GDPR — General Data Protection Regulation) which become effective in the EU in May became the reason of restrictions. The regulations will grant to inhabitants of the European Union the right to know what data store about them the companies. Personal data of persons which were not 16 years old yet can be collected, to store and process only with the permission of their parents or trustees.

«
You will have an opportunity to download and browse that limited information which we collect. This option will be available to all our users worldwide in the latest version of the application, says in the blog WhatsApp.
»

Meanwhile, users from other regions of the world can use the messenger from 13 years if it is authorized it is authorized the local legislation.

At the same time how check of age of the registered or already acting users will be performed, in WhatsApp did not explain.

The guide to a request of personal data which are stored about users by the company was also published in the blog WhatsApp. Within three days from the moment of sending a request the user will be able to obtain information in the form of the HTML-file packed into zip-archive. The file will contain a profile photo, names in group chats and other data, except the history of correspondence. The user then will be able to request removal of the personal data from servers of the company, however, most likely, this option will be available only to inhabitants of the European Union.[17]

Drug dealers were caught on a fingerprint in WhatsApp

In April 20118 years became known of detention of drug dealers thanks to the photo of a fingerprint from the WhatsApp messenger.

The British police delayed the 28-year-old man by the name of Elliot on suspicion of trade in narcotic substances. Police officers analyzed correspondence of the detainee in  WhatsApp and  found the suspicious photo there. In the picture somebody held on the opened tablet palm, the signature said: "What do you want to purchase?".

By means of new technology law enforcement agencies carried out recognition of fingerprints according to the photo which was used by criminals as advertizing at sale of drugs. Then in the house of the drug dealer carried out a search which allowed to detect a cannabis plantation.

The British police caught the drug dealer on a fingerprint in WhatsApp

At first law enforcement officers contacted spouses  Darren  and  Dominique Morris. However their fingerprints did not match the image on a photo. Then police officers decided to check them the 28-year-old son by the name of  Elliot. It became clear that he grows up hemp and controls a flow of drugs. His palm was also represented in the picture.

As a result it was succeeded to expose big criminal grouping and to arrest 11 people. Charges in sales of drugs are brought to them. Sentenced Elliot to 8.5 years of imprisonment.

According to the representative of police of the Southern Wales Dave Thomas, for the first time in Britain law enforcement authorities applied a possibility of fingerprint recognition according to the photo. It indicates the potential of use of pictures from social networks as proofs and also for detection of offenses, he noted.

«
Drug dealers apply technologies not to get, and we need to go in step with achievements — Dave Thomas whose words are cited by BBC reported.[18]
»

If the partial image of the fingerprint taken from the photo with low resolution — all this that is required to make arrest, in Wales there are crowded halls of court sessions, notes the Gizmodo edition.

2017

Blocking in China

On September 25, 2017 it became known of blocking of WhatsApp in China. It is the next step of Beijing on gain of online shadowing in the run-up to the meeting of the Communist Party. According to the The New York Times newspaper (NYT), from the middle of July, 2017 for many users of WhatsApp in Celestial Empire stopped being some functions of the application, including video chats and sending files are available.

Great Chinese fayervol reached WhatsApp: service is blocked in the country

The specialist in Internet communications of the University of Hong Kong Lokman Tsui told the edition that serious problems in work of WhatsApp began on Sunday, September 24. Next day in WhatsApp the possibility of sending messages to the Chinese users was blocked. At the same time Lokman Tsui noted that there is a probability that some users can still use the messenger.

According to the specialist in cryptography of the French research company Symbolic Software Nadim Kobeissi, blocking of text messages of WhatsApp can demonstrate that the Chinese censors developed the special software which could cope with the technology of data encryption used by the messenger.  More detailed than WhatsApp#Блокировка in China.

The WhatsApp command does not equal hopes of users for protection of privacy

On July 11, 2017 experts of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) non-profit organization drew a conclusion on insufficiency of efforts from administration of the WhatsApp messenger for protection of privacy of users.

In a research of experts criteria are used:

  • prohibition on transfer of personal data to the third parties,
  • transparency of interaction with the state,
  • check on legality of confidential requests of the U.S. Government
  • upholding of changes in the law allowing universal shadowing citizens[19].

Experts studied activity of 26 technology companies. The greatest point from five possible was got:

The worst estimates got:

The first three services earned three points, the messenger received two.

Experts noted that the administration of WhatsApp does not protect users from confidential data transmission to the third parties, does not inform them on requests from the authorities, does not check legality of confidential addresses from the American intelligence agencies.

All correspondence in the messenger is ciphered by means of end-to-end enciphering. Nevertheless, the administration of service collects metadata which contain information on device type, the web pages browsed by means of the application and a mobile network to which number of the user is tied.

According to researchers, all these data are transferred to the authorities on demand.

Deutsche Bank prohibited employees to use WhatsApp

German Deutsche Bank prohibited the employees to use messengers WhatsApp, Google Talk and iMessage on corporate phones,[20] reports].

It is noted that such measure is connected with what text messages, unlike the letters sent by e-mail it is impossible to store on servers of the company.

"We perfectly realize that such solution will change your daily work, and we regret for the inconvenience. Nevertheless this step is necessary in order that Deutsche Bank continued to conform to regulatory and legal requirements", says the appeal of the company to employees.

Earlier researchers from Berkeley University said that they detected vulnerability in WhatsApp which allows to read correspondence of users.

Vulnerability in WhatsApp allows to get access to others correspondence

The researcher from the University of California Tobias Boelter detected the vulnerability in WhatsApp instant messaging system allowing to read and intercept correspondence of users.

The problem is caused by the fact that WhatsApp without the knowledge of the sender and the receiver of messages can generate new keys for users, the being offline. Thus service again ciphers and sends the messages which are not marked as "delivered".

As notes The Guardian, receivers have no opportunity to learn about change of a key whereas senders can receive the corresponding notification only having activated the option "Show Notifications of Security" in settings. Repeated enciphering and resending allows WhatsApp to intercept and read effectively messages of users[21].

The specified vulnerability does not mention the Signal protocol used in WhatsApp for the organization of communication. The problem is connected with the feature of the mechanism of transmission of messages applied in the messenger to the users who are out of network.

Unique keys which are confirmed by both participants of message exchange are applied to end-to-end enciphering of messages. If the receiver changed the key, being offline, the delivery mechanism on the party of the sender will automatically recode a new key all messages expecting a mandrel. Thus the sent messages will be ciphered not by an original key of the interlocutor, but other key which will generate service.

2016

Subscribers of Tele2 can use WhatsApp without payment of Internet traffic

Tele2, the alternative mobile operator, started in November service "Plus messengers". The option allows subscribers of the company to use the WhatsApp messenger without payment of Internet traffic.

The service "Plus messengers" provides unlimited Internet traffic in the WhatsApp application and the Internet version of the messenger. Earlier Tele2 nullified data transmission in the WhatsApp application on "heavy" package rates. Thus, the new option is focused on users of rates which do not include free traffic in the messenger.

The service "Plus messengers" includes not rated message exchange, transfer of photo and video content. Traffic of voice and video calls via WhatsApp is paid by the user according to the operating tariff plan and discounts.

It is possible to activate service "Plus messengers" in a personal account "my Tele2" or using a command * 155*521#. For shutdown of an option it is necessary to gather a combination * 155*520#. The subscription fee for use of service makes 2 rubles a day. The service is also available to corporate clients of the company.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messengers among subscribers of Tele2: this application is used by 4.75 million clients, and daily using service more than 2.5 million subscribers of the operator communicate.

Germany prohibited WhatsApp to transfer to Facebook data of users

The social network Facebook should stop data collection of the German users of WhatsApp and also delete data which were already obtained from the messenger. It is said in the resolution of the representative of Hamburg for data protection and freedom of information Johannes Kaspar [22]

The solution is explained by the fact that Facebook and WhatsApp — the independent companies which process data of users, using different rules and privacy policy.

Besides, Caspar notes that after absorption of WhatsApp of the company promised that data exchange between them will not happen. The solution WhatsApp to transfer Facebook data misleads users and the public and also is violation of the law of Germany about data protection.

How to turn off data transmission of WhatsApp in Facebook

If you do not want that all your personal data and data of your friends from your phone got to Facebook and also to avoid that they were used for the purpose of advertizing and then to receive constantly advertizing from others, then it is necessary to open WhatsApp, to come into Settings - "The account (User account)", "Give information on the account", select "Not share".

WhatsApp included it automatically and if within 30 days not to switch off it, then then it to make will be

The WhatsApp messenger will begin to earn from the billion audience

WhatsApp changed in August, 2016 privacy policy of service, said in the official blog of the company. Terms of use of the messenger change the first time for the last four years, they reflect plans of the company for introduction of new models of monetization[23].

Main changes two. First, WhatsApp will permit the companies to send messages to users of the messenger now. WhatsApp remains the application for maintenance of communication with friends and relatives, however the company wants to study methods which will help people to communicate with the companies without third-party advertizing banners and spam, says. It is, for example, about the notification from bank on potentially fraudulent transaction or the notification from airline about a run delay. WhatsApp is going to test new features within the coming months.

The second change in privacy policy of WhatsApp concerns data transmission about users of the messenger to its shareholder – Facebook. "In spite of the fact that WhatsApp will continue to work as service, separate of Facebook, we are going to communicate with Facebook to adjust coordination and to improve experience of use of our services", says WhatsApp. It will allow Facebook to use the phone number of the user of WhatsApp that will give to advertisers the chance better to configure the advertizing, FT notes. Numbers of users of WhatsApp will become a part of the existing database of Facebook which the company (in an anonymous type) shares with advertisers. In the blog of WhatsApp it is said that in case of consolidation of the WhatsApp number with base of Facebook social network will be able "to offer more exact recommendations of friends and demonstration of the corresponding declarations". At the same time the user of WhatsApp can refuse consolidation of its data with a profile in Facebook within 30 days from the moment of the beginning of consolidation of bases.

WhatsApp was convicted of storage of remote chats

The unpleasant feature was detected by the researcher of security Johnathan Zdziarski. He managed to find out it during studying of the disk images taken from application most current release reports[24].

The found vulnerability indicates that even the messages deleted from the application can be read by hackers or police officers, however for this purpose they will need to get physical access to the device. Zdziarski also noted that data can be taken from the backup copy in a cloud.

The problem belongs only to the IOS-VERSION of WhatsApp. It means that law enforcement agencies which will receive the warrant for verification of information in iCloud cloud will be able to take also the messages deleted from the messenger. Also any other person with physical access to iPhone or to the computer with the backup copy of phone will be able to make the same.

Free messenger

On January 18, 2016 the developer company of WhatsApp announced - the messenger became free[25].

She reported about it in the blog.

The button of start of software on the screen of smartphone (2014)
«
In process of development we understood that it is the wrong approach. A great number of users of WhatsApp have even no bank card. And they worry that they can lose touch with the friends and relatives after the first year. The payment will be cancelled in the application on all platforms within several weeks.
»

Developers reported - canceling of a subscription will not cause emergence of advertizing - it will not be, as before. The new model of earnings, according to the statement of the company, will allow to use WhatsApp for communication with the companies and the organizations from which users will wish to obtain information: it can be the notification from bank, warning from airline of a delay of run or other information messages.

Loading and use of the official client of WhatsApp for all types of smartphones and phones (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Nokia) are free.

WhatsApp included enciphering for all the users

In April, 2016 it became known that the WhatsApp messenger included enciphering for all the users. Now all calls and correspondence will be unavailable to wiretap or cracking by the third parties.

WhatsApp entered "terminal" enciphering for all the users whose number exceeds 1 billion people. Recently the heated debate about services with elements of enciphering and how their work should "be on friendly terms" with law enforcement was unrolled, remembering recent opposition of Apple company with FBI of the USA.

The last update is intended to guarantee that all data sent by one user to another, including messages, photos, video, voice messages, documents and calls will be reliably protected. Even Whatsapp will not have access to these data that will complicate access of state bodies to information of users.

The tendency to complete enciphering on the Internet leaves less opportunities to malefactors to use the intercepted data. It means that layer of the attacks of the data connected with a compromise will inevitably develop. For this reason it is so important that a crypto environment supported new technologies and ciphers and did not give the chance to use compromised.

WhatsApp will receive the function "share music"

In the IOS-APPLICATION VERSION for message exchange will add a feature to share music. Users of the WhatsApp messenger will be able to share the music with the relatives and friends. Such feature is already added in the beta of the application for smartphones running iOS, reports the Fone Arena portal with reference to the German[26]. And it will be possible to exchange not only tracks which are saved in memory of the mobile device, but also songs from Music Apple. Such musical messages will be designated by the special picture in the form of a note, and it will be possible to listen to a track at once. Besides, in WhatsApp there will be public groups in which input will be available according to the special link. However administrators of community at any time will be able to withdraw the link or to close group. Also in the beta references appeared. Now, as well as on Twitter, it is enough to enter the character @ and to mark out the person from the address directory during the conversation with the interlocutor.

2010: Adding of support of Android

Support of Android OS was added to WhatsApp in 2010.

2009: Development of the first version of WhatsApp

The very first version of WhatsApp was developed in January, 2009. Initially the application was developed only under iOS in spite of the fact that Android at that time already existed.[27]

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Notes

  1. The court near Yekaterinburg for the first time in Russia considered case on a video call using WhatsApp
  2. Google stops indexing WhatsApp chats; other search engines still at it
  3. JPMorgan Puts Senior Credit Trader on Leave Over WhatsApp Use
  4. WhatsApp of the FAQ - Supported device
  5. WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.348: what’s new?
  6. Exclusive: Government officials around the globe targeted for hacking through WhatsApp - sources
  7. WhatsApp will cease to work at thousands of iPhones and Android
  8. In India election, an of $14 software tool helps overcome WhatsApp controls
  9. Facebook will implement digital currency in WhatsApp
  10. In WhatsApp for iOS support of biometric authentication appeared
  11. [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-21/facebook-is-said-to-develop-stablecoin-for-whatsapp-transfers?srnd=premium-europe of Facebook Is Developing a Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp Transfers, Sources Say
  12. WhatsApp found a place to show you ads
  13. In WhatsApp corrected the vulnerability allowing to take control over the application using a video call 
  14. [http://www.cnews.ru/news/top/2018-08-30_whatsapp_priznalchto_perepisku_ego_polzovatelej CNews: WhatsApp recognized that everyone can reach correspondence of its users]
  15. Check Point warns of WhatsApp vulnerabilities
  16. Group Calling for Voice and Video Is Here
  17. In Europe to teenagers prohibited to use WhatsApp
  18. WhatsApp photo drug dealer caught by 'groundbreaking' work
  19. of WhatsApp does not protect data of users from the authorities
  20. [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-13/deutsche-bank-is-banning-text-messages-on-company-issued-phones Bloomberg Deutsche Bank Bans Text Messages, WhatsApp on Company Phones
  21. Vulnerability in WhatsApp allows to get access to others correspondence
  22. [https://www.datenschutz-hamburg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Press_Release_2016-09-27_Adminstrative_Order_Facebook_WhatsApp.pdf Administrative order against the mass synchronization of data between Facebook and WhatsApp].
  23. the WhatsApp Messenger will begin to earn from the billion audience
  24. The Verge LIFE: WhatsApp was convicted of storage of remote chats
  25. WhatsApp became completely free
  26. edition Macerkopf WhatsApp will receive long-awaited function
  27. WhatsApp will cease to work at thousands of iPhones and Android