Sat, Mar 25, 2017 | updated 05:15 PM IST

WhatsApp denies 'backdoor' claims

Updated: Jan 14, 2017 18:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 14 (ANI): Popular messaging app WhatsApp has denied claims of vulnerability, described as 'backdoor', saying that it's a security feature related to message delivery in order to ensure messages don't get lost in transit.

The security issue was flagged in 2016 according to which messages sent via the platform could be intercepted and read.

It was reported that the issue was first identified by a security researcher and upon reporting it to Facebook, it was found out that the company was not actively working on fixing the bug.

WhatsApp has been appreciated for the end-to-end encryption Signal Protocol across its platform. The company's code, however, remains closed source.

The security issue concerns a feature of WhatsApp's Signal implementation that allows it to force the generation of new encryption keys for offline users. This is described as a 'retransmission vulnerability' by Tobias Boelter, who identified the issue in April, 2016, and thereby, can serve as a potential backdoor in WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption.

"WhatsApp does not give governments a 'backdoor' into its systems and would fight any government request to create a backdoor. The design decision referenced in the Guardian story prevents millions of messages from being lost, and WhatsApp offers people security notifications to alert them to potential security risks," the Reddit post of Brian Acton, Co-founder, WhatsApp, read.

Moxie Marlinspike, who designed the WhatsApp encryption, explained in a blog that the implementation offers users an 'opt in to a preference which notifies them every time the security code for a contact changes'.

In the blog post, Marlinspike wrote that WhatsApp users would now get all the benefits of a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible.

Earlier, a Guardian article had reported a weakness in WhatsApp's encryption, described as a 'backdoor', based on Boelter's claims. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has more than a billion monthly active users at this point. (ANI)

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