One of the most popular and widely used instant messaging apps ‘WhatsApp’ seems to be in trouble as the student of Dutch University Maikel Zweerink has found out a serious error in the design of this application. The student of this university has developed a web-based application WhatsSpy Public that tracks your WhatsApp activities even with strictest privacy setting.
Being an open-source tool, WhatsSpy Public can recover anything from your WhatsApp history like profile photos, status and messages. Moreover, this newly developed application can also track the user’s timeline to show when he or she was actually online.
Further, it also created a timeline for a person, demonstrating how much time users were online and when they have changed their profile picture and status messages. Users of WhatsSpy Public application are also able to compare the useage history of two WhatsApp users. But it has been also noted that the application is not able to track the real messages that have been exchanged between two individuals.
Maikel Zweerink, a Dutch university student and developer of WhatsSpy said, “This is not a hack or an exploit of WhatsApp’s systems, but a result of the way it was designed. The app offers three privacy settings: Last Seen, Profile Photo and Status. Users can choose whether each of these can be seen by everyone, only by his or her contacts, or by no one. The Last Seen setting does not prevent users from seeing that other users are online, although it seems to imply that.”
From the above statement of Zweerink, it came to knowing that it is not a hack or a use of WhatsApp systems, but the results of the way WhatsApp has been designed. We all know that currently, WhatsApp offers three different settings under privacy – last seen hide, hide profile picture and hide status. Although with strict privacy settings like if a user has hidden his or her last seen, the other user can easily still see whether he/she is online and at what time.
He also believes that privacy settings of WhatsApp are broken. No doubt the application can hide the profile picture, last seen indicator and status; however, it has not been executed the way it should be.
A public application WhatsSpy can be easily downloaded for free of cost and can be installed on a web server. However, there are some requirements in order to run this application, including rooted android phone or jailbroken iPhone and an SIM card number that not used by WhatsApp.
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