Italy's antitrust watchdog said it was imposing a 3 million-euro fine on messaging service WhatsApp for allegedly obliging users to agree to sharing their personal data with its parent company Facebook.
All 28 European Union data protection authorities asked WhatsApp last year to stop sharing users' data with Facebook due to doubts over the validity of users' consent. The Italian agency said the application led users to believe they would not have been able to continue using the service unless they agreed to terms including sharing personal data. A spokesperson for WhatsApp said: "We're reviewing the decision and we look forward to responding to officials."Read more
Germany's consumer watchdogs have made good on their legal threat against Facebook's WhatsApp, suing the messaging giant over the user data it transmits to its social-networking mothership.
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) asked the Berlin county court for an injunction to stop the data-sharing, and to ensure that Facebook deletes the data that WhatsApp has already given it. The VZBV accused the companies of abusing users' trust. The move follows Facebook's failure to agree to a cease-and-desist request that the VZBV issued in September last year, a month after Facebook changed WhatsApp's terms to allow the data-sharing.Read more
Today, researchers at Check Point Security announced a new attack against WhatsApp and Telegram, targeting the way both chat services process images and multimedia files.
In the WhatsApp case, Check Point was able to craft a malicious image that would appear normal in preview, but direct users to a malware-laden HTML page. Once loaded, the page will retrieve all locally stored data, enabling attackers to effectively hijack the user’s account. The vulnerability was reported to both services on March 8th, and both have changed their file upload validation protocols to protect against the attack.Read more
A pretty dumb WhatsApp scam is making rounds in chain mail form, promising "free internet" without Wi-Fi on an invite-only basis. First of all, the scam is quite dumb to begin with because the only way to use WhatsApp without Wi-Fi is to have a cellular data connection and WhatsApp cannot offer data - it's just an app, not a provider.
Secondly, the scam is spreading because it prompts victims to forward the message to 13 friends or five groups on WhatsApp to activate the "free internet." As usual, the message spreads via WhatsApp groups or comes from a friend who 'recommends' the service - often unaware of it. In this case, you receive a special invitation with a link.Read more
Deutsche Bank AG has banned text messages and communication apps such as WhatsApp on company-issued phones in an effort to improve compliance standards. The functionality will be switched off this quarter, chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat and chief operating officer Kim Hammonds told staff in a memo.
Unlike e-mails, text messages can’t be archived by the bank, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. “We fully understand that the deactivation will change your day-to-day work and we regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Matherat and Hammonds said.Read more
A security vulnerability that can be used to allow Facebook and others to intercept and read encrypted messages has been found within its WhatsApp messaging service. Facebook claims that no one can intercept WhatsApp messages, not even the company and its staff.
But new research shows that the company could read messages due to the way WhatsApp has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol. Privacy campaigners said the vulnerability is a “huge threat to freedom of speech” and warned it could be used by government agencies as a backdoor to snoop on users who believe their messages to be secure.Read more
Part of this update includes WhatsApp sharing your account information with Facebook to, among other things, provide better targeted ads. What information is being shared with Facebook? The updated WhatsApp FAQ page says that the phone number you used to sign up for WhatsApp with will be shared, as well as the last time you used the service. Facebook will not be able to see your messages, photos or other media you share. And any information will not be publicly visible to anyone using Facebook.Read more
The German data protection agency has ordered Facebook to stop collecting user data from its WhatsApp messenger app and delete any data it has already received.
The social network announced in August that it would begin sharing data from its 1 billion-plus user base, including phone numbers, from WhatsApp users with Facebook for the purpose of targeted ads. It gave users the option of opting out of the data being used for advertising purposes, but did not allow them to opt out of the data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook.Read more
The Facebook-owned WhatsApp will give its users’ personal information to its parent company and plans to make it easier for businesses to contact subscribers. WhatsApp claims the changes won’t endanger privacy.