WhatsApp is consistently used to spy on private data of users, Telegram founder Pavel Durov has claimed. In a Telegram post, Durov warned users to delete WhatsApp from their phones unless they are okay with their photos and messages becoming public one day. In the new post, he referred to a new backdoor that was discovered in WhatsApp earlier this week that allowed a remote attacker to target phones by sending a compromised video file in MP4 file format.
WhatsApp’s latest threat was categorised in the ‘High Severity’ category by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Though Facebook has denied any evidence of data being exploited by hackers, Durov claimed that the vulnerability is bound to have been exploited just like Pegasus spyware attack, given its magnitude.
For those unaware, WhatsApp disclosed earlier this month Israeli spyware Pegasus was used to put surveillance on some 1,400 WhatsApp users including journalists and human rights activists in India. Pegasus exploited a flaw in WhatsApp’s video calling feature and once installed on the device, it would have complete control over the device, including its phone calls, messages.
“WhatsApp doesn’t only fail to protect your WhatsApp messages – this app is being consistently used as a Trojan horse to spy on your non-WhatsApp photos and messages,” he wrote in the post. Further, Durov accused WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook of being a part of surveillance programs long before it acquired the service. He pointed out that it is unlikely that Facebook changed its policies after acquiring WhatsApp and it continues to spy on its users.
Prior to this, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had urged users last year to delete Facebook on accusations of not taking user privacy and data seriously by the social network. In fact, Durov also pointed out in his blog that Acton’s admission that he has sold his users’ privacy, which he made after WhatsApp was sold to Facebook, further makes it evident that it is unlikely that the social network will change its privacy policies.
Durov has been vocal of privacy issues in WhatsApp and this is not the first time he has written about the rival app. In May, he wrote a post titled, “Why WhatsApp will never be secure” where he predicted that a new critical vulnerability seems to get discovered everytime the service fixes one, suggesting Facebook accidentally implements critical vulnerabilities across its apps every few months.