The digital media is one of the riskiest mediums to work with because the internet knows everything and remembers.
Whatsapp is no different as the Facebook owned text Messenger has found to have a serious bug.
While from a simple perspective, it may not look so harmful a hacker would know what to do when they know when you fall asleep and whom you talk to. The hack works based on the popular feature available in the app. By default, Whatsapp shows when a user was last seen online and online status.
A lot of personal issues already came up because your ex, spouse or boss could instantly find that you were up to no good by staying awake till 2 AM in the night. This bug has been identified by a security researched who confirmed that anyone with bit of technical knowledge and a spare laptop could track the pattern of each Whatsapp user in their contact as well as random phone numbers around the globe.
Software engineer Rob Heaton details how Whatsapp contacts could be exploited by creating a robot that will continuously collect information of everyone, including the time they sleep and stop seeing updates. When acquired in large quantities, the data can be sold to many companies including those that sell sleeping pills and some that might offer things to do when you don’t fall asleep easily.
When the same Whatsapp last seen online status is compared with multiple other people in a known circle, it is also possible to predict to whom they were talking to. A simple guess and some technical data research, the data when overlapped confirms when two people fall asleep at the same time. While this may not be the accurate way, it does work to a good extent.
After the software engineer exposed this bug, it is high time Whatsapp developers fix it. He not only explained the problem but also provided sample screenshots and methods on how this would work on a smaller scale. All a hacker has to do is gather the information and sell it to companies without the knowledge of his contacts.
A prominent fact is that the same problem exists with Facebook Messenger as well and Whatsapp is not the first to face it. However, the developers are yet to respond with a real solution and put an end to this bug so as to safeguard individual’s privacy.