WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption is a gimmick

PHOTO: AFP

The discovery that hackers could snoop on WhatsApp should alert users of supposedly secure messaging apps to an uncomfortable truth: "End-to-end encryption" sounds nice - but if anyone can get into your phone's operating system, they will be able to read your messages without having to decrypt them.

According to a report in the Financial Times on Tuesday, the spyware that exploited the vulnerability was Pegasus, made by Israeli company NSO. The malware could access a phone's camera and microphone, open messages, capture what appears on a user's screen, and log keystrokes - rendering encryption pointless.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption is a gimmick'. Subscribe