Last week, Facebook let users know there was a security breach in the WhatsApp messaging software that allows for spyware companies to install surveillance software on users’ phones just by calling.
The issue allowed remote code infection using spyware. It was quickly resolved by Facebook. This flaw reminds us that regardless of how well they market the safety of WhatsApp to consumers, breaches such a this will become more common in this technological world.
The ways in which social media, some marketing companies and app designers exploit the public interest not only make more privacy breaches possible, they also open consumers up to viruses on their devices. These virtual viral infections could totally wipe out all user data and contact information. They could also provide the spyware’s source the ability to spoof your number for their own purposes.
Although Facebook did admit to the flaw and quickly fixed it, they didn’t offer the public a whole lot of details about how it happened or a plan to ensure it never happens again moving forward. Instead, they offered an upgrade to the version of WhatsApp that exists. Facebook says it will be making a malware removal tool available its users. The tool is only going to remove identified spyware. It won’t cover all of the spyware that’s lurking out there.
Facebook security breaches are nothing new. We brought you stories recently highlighting the social media giant’s privacy issues. What this story tells us is that no matter how much we protect our social media accounts, we are still very vulnerable to mobile phone spyware. It also tells us that apps like WhatsApp are not exactly as secure as we think.
We hope it Facebook will continue to inform users of any additional kinds of security breaches. Unfortunately, given their reputation on these matters, the likelihood that will happen is nil.
What do you think about the WhatsApp security breach? Tell us what you think in the comments below or contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com, find us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!