'Why Using WhatsApp Is Dangerous', explains Telegram CEO, blasts instant messaging platform
Days after a media report claimed that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' iPhone was hacked via a WhatsApp message, Telegram CEO Paul Durov has blasted the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform for misleading its customers about using end-to-end encryption as a smokescreen.
Days after a media report claimed that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' iPhone was hacked via a WhatsApp message, Telegram CEO Paul Durov has blasted the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform for misleading its customers about using end-to-end encryption as a smokescreen. In his official blog, Durov said that if a WhatsApp backdoor allowed the extraction of private communications and photos of Jeff Bezos – the richest person on the planet - it is likely that countless other businesses and government leaders have been targeted too.
"In my November post, I predicted this would happen. The United Nations now recommends its officials remove WhatsApp from their devices, while people close to Donald Trump have been advised to change their phones," he said in the blog post. He blasted WhatsApp for blaming Apple and claiming that iOS and not the platform was hacked.
"WhatsApp’s “corrupt video” vulnerability was present not only on iOS, but also on Android and even Windows Phone devices. Meaning, on all mobile devices with WhatsApp installed," Durov said to defend Apple. He said that this security fault was not present in other messaging apps on iOS.
"Had Jeff Bezos relied on Telegram instead of WhatsApp, he wouldn't have been blackmailed by people who compromised his communications," the blog added. He went on to say that the issue was not iOS-specific, but WhatsApp specific. He said that Telegram rolled out end-to-end encryption years before WhatsApp but has been mindful not only of the strengths, but also the limitations of this technology.
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Durov claimed that backups and backdoors remain the biggest concerns.
"Backdoors are usually camouflaged as “accidental” security flaws. In the last year alone, 12 such flaws have been found in WhatsApp. Seven of them were critical – like the one that got Jeff Bezos. Some might tell you WhatsApp is still “very secure” despite having 7 backdoors exposed in the last 12 months, but that’s just statistically improbable. Telegram, an application used by hundreds of millions of people including heads of states and large companies, has had no issues of that severity in the last 6 years," he said.
He also criticised WhatsApp for having hidden source code and obfuscated binaries, while claiming that Telegram apps have been open-source and its encryption fully documented since 2013.
"Don’t let yourself be fooled by the tech equivalent of circus magicians who’d like to focus your attention on one isolated aspect all while performing their tricks elsewhere. They want you to think about end-to-end encryption as the only thing you have to look at for privacy. The reality is much more complicated," he added.
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