"Surveillance tool": Telegram founder's explosive claim on WhatsApp goes viral

By Tasso Konia
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Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of Telegram, has made an explosive claim about the instant messaging app WhatsApp, calling it a surveillance tool for the past 13 years.

Durov stated in a viral Telegram post that hackers could have full access to everything on WhatsApp users' phones.

The messaging app's founder said a hacker could control anyone's phone by sending him/her a malicious video or starting a call through WhatsApp. In fact, the Narendra Modi government's nodal agency Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) had warned WhatsApp users about hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in WhatsApp through a video call. WhatsApp had also issued a security advisory in September regarding an integer overflow in WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.22.16.12.

Durov, who according to Forbes, is worth $15 billion, said users are not safe even if they thought so after updating WhatsApp to the latest version.

“A WhatsApp security issue exactly like this one was discovered in 2018, then another in 2019 and yet another one in 2020 (tap each year's link to see the corresponding vulnerability). And yes, in 2017 before that. Prior to 2016, WhatsApp didn't have encryption at all”, he said, also claiming that the security flaw is hardly incidental and they are actually planted ‘backdoors’.

Claiming he deleted WhatsApp from his devices years ago, Durov warned users that all data from every app on anyone's device is accessible if WhatsApp is installed on the phone. Durov said Telegram with 700 million active users didn't need additional promotion.

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