Security Threats on WhatsApp Bring Spy Apps Into the Limelight

After Facebook, WhatsApp has come up as the biggest name in the internet messaging industry. With its coming, the world has seen a drastic increase in the number of people who take advantage of the users of the app. If you are one of the millions of people using WhatsApp, then you need to know that there are some serious threats to which you could be vulnerable.

The Malware Threat


You can use WhatsApp via the web, using your browser. Beware that some people out there in the cyber world who share fake download links, making sure that they look like the real client, whereas actually, they are malware waiting to get into your cell phone.
have succeeded in finding numerous suspicious downloads in different languages disguised as WhatsApp downloads.

What such sites do is to collect sensitive information from the downloaders and distribute malware. Some malware adds the users to WhatsApp spam lists, which contain Trojans and malware designed to retrieve the target's banking information.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, which is easy to use and reliable. First, you must make sure that the URL for using WhatsApp Web is the official one (http://web.whatsapp.com/). You shouldn't have to download anything because it is a web-based app and works via your browser on the PC.

Crash Notifications


Not too long ago, WhatsApp users discovered that they could crash the target's WhatsApp messenger installed on the cell phone. To achieve this, all they have to do is to sell a message that is more than 7MB. Once the target person receives the message, the WhatsApp will crash whenever he or she tries to open the thread. The only way the target can regain control of the situation is by deleting the thread. In fact, malicious people can achieve the same thing by sending a message that is lesser than 2KB, and it must contain special characters.

If the target person restores the conversation from backups, it will still crash the app again. This sort of damaging message works in both individual messages and in the group chats. All members in the group chats will have to delete the thread and leave the group in order to avoid the repeated crashing. You may not think of such messages that crash your WhatsApp messenger as a big deal, but many people use the app for business dealings and such vulnerability can cause many problems for them.

For now, there is no way to fix this problem. Your best shot is that WhatsApp's creator (Maikel Zweerink) fixes this problem before many people discover this way of crashing the app on a target's cell phone. The good news here though is that only Android smartphone users are more vulnerable to this.

Weak Privacy Settings


It came as a shock to Maikel Zweerink to realize that even after increasing the security in the app; it is not as safe as it should be. With a simple app named WhatsSpy Public, people can easily monitor the target user's photos, status changes, and messages, and even adjust their security settings remotely. It bypasses the privacy settings, even if it's set to "Nobody". Zweerink wrote about the problem to create awareness about it so that WhatsApp users can take necessary security measures. So far, there is no way to protect your WhatsApp from this problem.

Snooping on Other WhatsApp Users


Recently, WhatsApp
, which made it a very secure chatting tool where no third party can see what two people discuss. However, even with this development, other ways allow people to snoop on other WhatsApp users.
, for example, is a monitoring software, which
to see all chats, photos and videos exchanged, and call logs.

Beware that detecting the presence of spyware in your cell phone is easy, but detecting some apps is really tough. WhatsApp uses Mac addresses to route messages, which makes it a harder method of sneaking on WhatsApp conversations. By assigning someone else's' Mac address to your phone, you can temporarily intercept their WhatsApp messages.

The best way to prevent someone's accessing your WhatsApp is by making sure you never leave your phone lying around, or with someone whom you don't trust. It doesn't take more than 5 minutes to install tracking software or getting a phone's Mac address.

Should You Stop Using WhatsApp?


There's no doubt that WhatsApp is a wonderful app. Nonetheless, if you feel insecure about the threats you can risk while using it, then you may want to consider other safer apps like Telegram. Most people prefer WhatsApp better despite the worries that accompany it because it is fun to use. If you are ready to take the risks, then you don't need to stop using the app. Barely
, which is quite negligible. Most likely, you are safe.