Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Researchers find flaw in WhatsApp

Researchers find flaw in WhatsApp

More than 20 people have been butchered in the last three months by crazed mobs after being accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral messages circulated wildly on WhatsApp.

"Since people have been murdered in India and Brazil due to fake Whatsapp messages, and since Whatsapp is admissible evidence in courts around the world, we decided we couldn't keep it to ourselves", he said.

San Francisco: An Israeli cybersecurity company said it had discovered a flaw in WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service with 1.5 billion users, that allows scammers to alter the content or change the identity of the sender of a previously delivered message. "This week, WhatsApp is publishing a new video that explains the importance of the "forward" label and calls users to "double check" the facts when you're not sure who created the original message", the company said. WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in India.

The news comes as WhatsApp parent company, Facebook, continues to combat allegations of fake news and misinformation spreading.

WhatsApp sets strict limits on message forwarding in India. On 3 July, the social media giant rolled out a new feature to clearly mark forwarded messages.

It's easy to see how these techniques could be used to dupe even relatively tech-savvy individuals, with scams being an immediate concern and the potential spread of fake news a more slow-burning problem. "Every user has a number on WhatsApp but WhatsApp has no number through which its user can contact it for grievance redressal", says the plea from the New Delhi-based organisation.

Following incidents of lynching, the Centre came down heavily on WhatsApp and warned that it would treat the messaging platform as an "abettor" of rumour-mongering and take legal action. The app has also restricted the number of chats a message can be forwarded to, to five. However, it has been noted that the forwarded message can be copied and shared again to multiple chats.

Although WhatsApp has tried to mend the issues the Indian government has been considering ways to ban the service, along with other social media tools like Facebook, in the event of an emergency.

Like this: