Telegram founder warns people to ‘stay away from WhatsApp’ over hacking fears
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The founder of Telegram has claimed hackers 'could have full access' to people's phones if they use WhatsApp.
Durov claims the app is being targeted by hackers and so users should use 'any messaging app' except for WhatsApp.
According to Durov, who has claimed the new threat is just one of many to users who have the messaging platform, WhatsApp's security is severely lacking.
On Telegram, Durov stated: "Hackers could have full access (!) to everything on the phones of WhatsApp users.
"This was possible through a security issue disclosed by WhatsApp itself last week. All a hacker had to do to control your phone was send you a malicious video or start a video call with you on WhatsApp.
"You are probably thinking 'Yeah, but if I updated WhatsApp to the latest version, I am safe, right'? Not really.
"It doesn’t matter if you are the richest person on Earth – if you have WhatsApp installed on your phone, all your data from every app on your device is accessible."
Durov's reference to WhatsApp's security issue relates to an update made by the platform last week.
On its Security Advisories page, WhatsApp wrote: "An integer underflow in WhatsApp for Android prior to v18.104.22.168, WhatsApp for iOS v22.214.171.124 could have caused remote code execution when receiving a crafted video file."
However, Durov has claimed hackers, as well as law enforcement agencies and governments, are being allowed into people's devices through a 'planted backdoor'.
This isn't the first time Durov has warned against the use of WhatsApp.
His Telegram post continued: "A WhatsApp security issue exactly like this one was discovered in 2018, then another in 2019 and yet another one in 2020 [...] And yes, in 2017 before that. Prior to 2016, WhatsApp didn't have encryption at all.
Hackers could have full access (!) to everything on the phones of WhatsApp users – https://t.co/kefCbrdpc8— Pavel Durov (@durov) October 5, 2022
"Every year, we learn about some issue in WhatsApp that puts everything on their users' devices at risk. Which means it's almost certain that a new security flaw already exists there. Such issues are hardly incidental – they are planted backdoors. If one backdoor is discovered and has to be removed, another one is added (read the post 'Why WhatsApp will never be secure' to understand why)."
Despite his accusations, Durov has insisted he's 'not pushing people to switch to Telegram here'. WhatsApp has 'over two billion users worldwide' compared to Telegram's 'over 700 million active users'.
Durov added: "Telegram doesn’t need additional promotion.
"You can use any messaging app you like, but do stay away from WhatsApp – it has now been a surveillance tool for 13 years."
A spokesperson for WhatsApp told LADbible: "This is complete rubbish."