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AFP — The Facebook-owned mobile messaging service WhatsApp is vulnerable to interception, the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday, sparking concern over an app advertised as putting an emphasis on privacy.
The report said that WhatsApp messages could be read without its billion-plus users knowing due to a security backdoor in the way the company has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol.
The system relies on unique security keys “that are traded and verified between users to guarantee communications are secure and cannot be intercepted by a middleman,” the report said.
But WhatsApp can force the generation of new encryption keys for offline users “unbeknown to the sender and recipient of the messages”, it said.