In association with heise online

24 August 2012, 16:21

WhatsApp no longer sends plain text

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Zoom Until now, third parties had no problems reading the messages of WhatsApp users on the same network

Popular messaging service WhatsApp no longer sends its users' messages in plain text. WhatsApp, which supports all major smartphone platforms, has established itself as an SMS replacement for many users over the past few years. An FAQ entry from the company behind the application states that the latest version of the WhatsApp client now uses encryption.

It is unclear how long the service has been encrypting messages and which algorithms it uses, and The H's associates at heise Security have yet to receive a response to their request for more information. The change logs of the Android and iOS apps don't mention the introduction of an encryption function.

Zoom The senders' phone number can still be sniffed

heise Security's analysis of the iOS version's data traffic showed, at least, that messages are no longer being sent as plain text, although the senders' phone numbers are still included in the data packets without encryption or other protection. heise Security was no longer able to read messages using the WhatsApp Sniffer snooping program – although, since the program doesn't seem to have been updated for several months now, it would be quite surprising if it could still read messages now that the transmission protocol has been changed, regardless of whether or not the data packets are encoded.


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