Monday, April 7, 2014

WhatsApp Faces New Challenges

Whatsapp is a mobile messaging app that allows you to send messages without having to pay anything.  This is a new app that has been popular and in high demand over the past one to two years or so.  Whatsapp uses the same data plan that you use on your smartphone to browse the Internet or check your email with so there is no additional cost.  Whatsapp is available on the IPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone. 
I personally downloaded Whatsapp on my IPhone a couple of months ago because I had a bunch of friends that were studying abroad in other countries around the world and I wanted to stay in contact with them on a day-to-day basis without getting charged an international fee for calling or texting.  I soon realized that I could just use Imessage on my IPhone and just turn my Wi-Fi on.  I came to realize that I did not have to have this app. 
Whatsapp ran into a few problems though a few months ago.  These problems had to due with security and privacy issues with this application.  According to this article, “Xuyang Li, founder of TrustGo Mobile, said that he downloaded Whatsapp and when he opened the application the account was registered to a woman named Jessica, who was the previous owner of his used phone.”  This happened because when you are a new user to Whatsapp all you need to do is enter your phone number and not your username or password.  So when Mr. Li went to create his account all he did was entered his phone number, which was the same as Jessica’s, and so it technically never created a new account.  This has probably happened multiple times.  If you are going to sell your phone to someone or just give it away you probably want to make sure you erase all the data off of your phone and sign out of all your applications.  This is something very easy to do and will save you the hassle when someone tries to hack your accounts or tries to steal your identity. 
Whatsapp stores all their information about their users on a server.  This is how incidents like this can accidentally occur.  Also, since all the information is being stored in a huge database, hackers can easily access it.  This is why something needs to be done in order to prevent things like this from happening.  Whatsapp does not ask you many questions (personal questions) when you go to create an account.  It is not like a company like Facebook where they ask you personal information when you create an account.  Facebook also just recently bought Whatsapp for $19 million.
Since Whatsapp ran into this problem they now implemented a few security/privacy protocols.  Now when you sign up, Whatsapp sends you a verification code and it advises you to delete your old account or transfer your old account to your new phone number so you do not run into any problems.  Also, Whatsapp now automatically deletes/deactivates your account if it is inactive for 45 days.  I believe that this is a good safety measure and will insure that your data is safe.  Whatsapp also claims that they do not save your messages that are being sent back and forth between users.  These messages are not being saved on any servers or anything like that.,7,121,122,201,401,641,1009

1 comment:

  1. Internet security and more importantly mobile app security is an extremely important contemporary issue with the rapid growth smartphones in the past decade. Many users are used to typing in a username and password on the computer, but is it necessary when you are on your personal device? I think Whatsapp was originally striving for a user-friendly interface that didn't require the mundane username and password login of a computer. However, now and in the future due to privacy concerns will almost always be required. Also, by acquiring the mobile app Whatsapp, Facebook now has even more powerful information to monetize their mobile platform. Ads on the mobile platform will help Facebook grow their revenue in the subsequent quarterly reports. You can bet Facebook will use Whatsapp to secure their position as a leader of sharing tools on smartphones.