WhatsApp testing 'Dismiss As Admin' feature in groups

WhatsApp testing 'Dismiss As Admin' feature in groups

A team of cryptographers recently found a flaw in WhatsApp's group chats even after WhatsApp added the end to end encryption to the chats.

Cryptographers reported flaws that make it possible to gain access to WhatsApp's private group chats without admins permission. While this procedure previously required administrators to remove the other person from the group and then re-add them, now it gets done in a few taps.

Encryption has always been one of the more hard elements of group chat; the best protection in the world can not stop unintended readers from seeing messages once they've been decoded. The report also said that there is no authentication mechanism for the invitation that its own server can add to the group.

With over 1.2 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is available in more than 50 different languages around the world and in 10 Indian languages.

Despite the service's end-to-end encryption, experts say hackers can insert people into WhatsApp groups without the permission of the chat's admin. "Thereby it can cache sent messages to the group, read their content first and decide in which order they are delivered to the members".

WhatsApp is likely to give group administrators more powers where they will be able to restrict all other members from sending text messages, photographs, videos, GIFs, documents or voice messages in case the admin thinks so.

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WhatsApp is yet to respond to this report.

"We've looked at this issue carefully", a WhatsApp spokesperson wrote in an email.

The researchers recommend in their paper that users who rely on absolute privacy should stick to Signal or individual private messaging. "If I hear there's end-to-end encryption for both groups and two-party communications, the means adding of new members should be protected against".

"If someone hacks the WhatsApp server, they can obviously alter the group membership".

WhatsApp has started allowing users to "dismiss" administrators of group chats.

WhatsApp has confirmed the researchers' findings but points out that it is not possible to add a new member to a group without members of that group being notified. "For example, it would be interesting to analyze the group chat implementations of other Signal-based messaging protocols, such as Google's Allo, Wire, and Facebook Messenger, or even non Signal-based protocols similarly to our investigation of Threema". "And if not, the value of encryption is very little", further added Paul Rosler.

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