Pavel Durov, the founder and director of the Telegram messaging app, has seriously questioned the security of a rival service. WhatsApp is used by millions more people than Telegram, but the scandals are making some users decide to switch to the alternative messaging app.
This week, WhatsApp had a gigantic security breach that put the privacy of 1.5 billion users at risk. According to Durov, this incident is subject to repetition, and with even greater magnitude. The Russian businessman has responded with fierce criticism to the fact that data that WhatsApp users store on their phone (including photos, videos, emails and texts) could be obtained by hackers. In a blog post called “Why WhatsApp Will Never Be Safe,” Durov explains why the latest privacy incident didn’t surprise him at all.
According to the entrepreneur, WhatsApp has a consistent history, from the absence of encryption during its creation, to security failures, curiously favorable to secret surveillance. In retrospect, in WhatsApp’s 10 years of existence, there hasn’t been a single day when the application has been safe, according to Durov.
Since the application is not open source, security inspectors find it more difficult to find vulnerabilities in the software structure. This could allow hackers and government organizations to create backdoors in the app to avoid any security measures.
In 2016, the company introduced end-to-end encryption for “any form of communication” that took place through the app, so that only people who send and receive a message can read it, but security experts have agreed that this type of encryption is not enough to protect users’ privacy.
Telegram is not the only alternative to WhatsApp: for example, Signal is an application backed by Edward Snowden, which protects the privacy of its users with special emphasis.
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