How Hackers are Skirting WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption?

WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption feature for all its users in April 2016. As a result, all the calls, messages, multimedia files and voice messages sent or received via this platform are now encrypted by default.

The idea behind the new technology is to ensure that communication-taking place via this program can stay secure and avoid interceptions. So no one can lay their eyes on these messages. Not hackers. Not cybercriminals. Not NSA. Not anyone besides the sender and the receiver.

While there are some concerns how secure these communications are, it’s a huge development in the ongoing argument about how secure these conversations should be. 

How Does WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption Work?

WhatsApp encryption jumbles the content of the messages so heavily that it’s hard to decipher for anyone other than the sender and the recipient to access the messages. Let me put it more plainly, encryption algorithms are quite alike boxes with lock and keys. For example, when the user ‘A’ sends his friend user ‘B’ a private message, he will put it in the box and lock it with their key.
Then, he will send the locked box to his friend ‘B’, who will open the box and read their friend’s messages only if she has a valid key of her own. And that’s not the end of the story, WhatsApp has added another level of encryption called “perfect forward secrecy”. It’s more like a second lock with a key for every new session of messaging. 

Why WhatsApp Added End-to-End Encryption?

WhatsApp rolled out this feature after tech giants came under fire when the Guardian published its bombshell stories based on the revelations of the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden who divulged that the agency was spying on American citizens. The reports described that NSA’s PRISM program can directly access the servers of big tech giants in the US like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others.
However, later it was learned that PRISM was a less evil than first thought. In reality, it never provided NSA direct access to tech giants’ servers, but the agency can request the companies to give them user data as they are bound by law to comply. Though prompting tech companies denied any knowledge of it at first, then later they fought for the right to make things more transparent pertaining government data requests.

The tech firms end up partially winning the battle, which forced the government to ease some restrictions and make allowance for more transparency. The founders of WhatsApp have publically supported the tech companies over these arguments. So when WhatsApp added encryption it came as no surprise. The company said they had added the functionality to make the platform more secure — by forcing itself to be unable to relinquish user information to oppressive governments and hackers.  

Does that Make WhatsApp Safe for Use?

In the tech world, WhatsApp was praised when it implemented end-to-end encryption. In fact, it was hailed as an example to follow. However, in reality, WhatsApp is still not as secure as it is deemed. How? Well, here is why we think so.


Most of us don’t know that WhatsApp still keeps the records of its users’ metadata. This means even though the communication taking place via this platform cannot be accessed by anyone including WhatsApp itself, information such as phone numbers and timestamps on the messages involved in the exchange are still being recorded on the company’ server.  

This suggests that if the court of law compels WhatsApp to share all the data it has on a specific user, the metadata stored by the company would probably be enough to draw strong conclusions and create a profile. For instance, it won’t be hard to find out who someone talked to, how many times they communicated with one another and at what time.

Now, this is a solid information to have. What do you think? And the most frightening part is it’s not the governments who could lay their eyes on this data, hackers can also tap into it. 

WhatsApp Spying Apps

Sure, it’s not an easy task for an average hacker to hack into WhatsApp’s servers and extract metadata from them. However, they can surely hack someone’s cell phone or tablet with a WhatsApp spying app and obtain all the vital information that WhatsApp itself cannot access.   
Of course, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is a big step forward, still, it fails to keep prying eyes away from your private data if the trickster is using a WhatsApp spying app. These sleuthing software are widely available on the internet can easily ditch WhatsApp end-to-end encryption. Didn’t get it? Let me explain it to you.

Your WhatsApp messages may be secure when they are in transit, but end-to-end encryption won’t do you any good if your or your recipient’s phone has already been covertly hacked with a whatsApp spying app like Xnspy and other snooping software allow hackers to monitor WhatsApp messages, call logs and multimedia files shared through the app without touching the phone or tablet.

And you will never be able to get the gist of it. Since WhatsApp Spying apps never appear among your installed apps and stay completely invisible as soon as the impostor installs them on the target device. A WhatsApp spying app can also be used to recover time and date stamps of each conversation.

And things can get more perilous if the hacker decides to leverage an advanced WhatsApp spying app like Xnspy as they can retrieve messages that are deleted from the target device.

Final Thoughts

Though lawmakers have failed to reignite the larger issue of national security versus personal privacy, hackers have surely found a way around WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. And this isn’t a hoax. These surveillance software actually deliver and can prove quite dangerous. It’s time that WhatsApp and other tech times should take this bull by its horns and close all the loopholes or backdoors that allow imposters to peek into someone’s private data.  

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Bhanu Namikaze

Bhanu Namikaze is an Ethical Hacker, Security Analyst, Blogger, Web Developer and a Mechanical Engineer. He Enjoys writing articles, Blogging, Debugging Errors and Capture the Flags. Enjoy Learning; There is Nothing Like Absolute Defeat - Try and try until you Succeed.

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