Between growing concerns about privacy and security on messaging apps like WhatsApp, researchers at Check Point have shed light on a new revelation which supports the claims that some features on WhatsApp might promote spreading of fake news. The researchers have found and pinpointed the loopholes in the world’s most used Instant Messaging application which might be a medium to spread the fake news as per them. Check Point said that these vulnerabilities are “a threat actor to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation.” The three loopholes which were found by the researchers at Check Point include – Changing a reply from someone, Quoting a message in a response to a group conversation, and sending a message to a member of a group that pretends to be a group message but it’s only sent to one member and not the entire group.
Now, although these features are here to extend the functionality of the application, there is nothing to stop the people from manipulating the replies and spreading fake news.
Oded Vanunu, Head of Product vulnerabilities at Check Point said about this new revelation “Given WhatsApp’s prevalence among consumers, businesses and government agencies, it’s no surprise that hackers see the application as a five-star opportunity for potential scams. As one of the main communication channels available today, WhatsApp is used for sensitive conversations ranging from confidential corporate and government information to criminal intelligence that could be used in a court of law.”
Now it remains in the hands of WhatsApp to take some action to repel the spreading of fake news on the platform. The feature which sends a reply only to a particular group member is especially the target which presents the most concern on the platform right now. The Facebook-owned messaging giant has not yet let out a word on this new find. However, it is needless to say that if WhatsApp wants to make its users feel safe on its platform, then it will have to make some changes for sure.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.