While the whole world was shocked by the news of a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature that allowed hackers to install spyware on Android and iOS phones simply by calling the target, rival Telegram warned that WhatsApp would remain open for surveillance.
Telegram Founder Says WhatsApp Will Never Be Secure
Launching a scathing attack on Facebook-owned messaging app, which has more than 1.5 billion users, Pavel Durov, Russian founder of Telegram, said that every time WhatsApp needs to fix a critical vulnerability in its app , a new one appears in its place.
“All of their security concerns are perfect for surveillance, and look a lot like backdoors,” Durov wrote in a long post Wednesday night.
The spyware on WhatsApp is said to have been developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence firm, NSO Group. According to experts, victims of the latest WhatsApp spyware attack may have lost important personal information, including location data and email content.
“In almost six years, Telegram has not exhibited any major data breaches or security vulnerabilities of the type that WhatsApp demonstrates every few months,” said Durov.
Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp is not open source. Therefore, a security researcher cannot easily verify if there are backdoors in their code.
“Not only is WhatsApp not releasing its code, they are doing the exact opposite: WhatsApp deliberately hides the binaries of their apps to ensure that no one is able to study them thoroughly,” Durov said.
Telegram has passed through 200 million monthly active users around the world.
The lack of security of WhatsApps allows them to spy on their own citizens. Thus, WhatsApp continues to be freely accessible in places like Russia or Iran, where Telegram is banned by authorities, said the founder of Telegram who created the platform to offer secure encrypted communications.
Three years ago, WhatsApp announced the implementation of end-to-end encryption so “no third party can access messages.”
This coincided with aggressive pressure from all of its users to save their chats to the cloud.
“During this operation, WhatsApp did not indicate to its users that, during the backup, the messages are no longer protected by end-to-end encryption and are accessible to hackers and law enforcement. The marketing is brilliant, and some naïve people are serving their time in prison, ”Durov said.
WhatsApp has a consistent history – from zero encryption in its infancy to a succession of security issues oddly suited to surveillance.
“In retrospect, there hasn’t been a single day in WhatsApp’s 10-year journey when this service was secure. That’s why I don’t think updating WhatsApp’s mobile app makes it secure for anyone, ”Durov added.
WhatsApp has yet to release many details on the nature of the spyware attack and its implications, but said it provided information to US law enforcement to help them investigate. .
Last year, the founders of WhatsApp quit the company over concerns about user privacy.
“They are definitely bound by gag orders or NDAs. They therefore cannot discuss behind the scenes in public without risking losing their fortune and their freedom. They were able to admit, however, that “they sold the privacy of their users,” he added.
“I think we’ve let humanity down in this whole WhatsApp spyware thing. Many people cannot stop using WhatsApp because their friends and family are still there.
“The majority of Internet users are still being held hostage by the Facebook / WhatsApp / Instagram empire. A lot of Telegram users also use WhatsApp, which means their phones are still vulnerable, ”Durov said.
More recently, he said, “We are seeing Facebook’s attempt to borrow the whole philosophy of Telegram. Zuckerberg suddenly declared the importance of privacy and speed, quoting virtually verbatim the description of Telegram’s application in his F8 conference speech ”.
“At Telegram, we need to recognize our responsibility in shaping the future. It’s either us or Facebook’s monopoly. It’s either freedom and privacy, or greed and hypocrisy, ”he added, stressing that an era of freedom and privacy would soon begin.