Telegram founder Pavel Durov said that WhatsApp has been a surveillance tool for 13 years, and asked users to stay away from it.
Founder of the instant messaging service Telegram, Pavel Durov, said in his Telegram channel yesterday that WhatsApp has been a surveillance tool for 13 years and people should stay away from the messaging app. He said that every year there is an issue with WhatsApp that puts its users’ data at risk.
“I'm not pushing people to switch to Telegram here. With 700M+ active users and 2M+ daily signups, 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,” said Durov in his channel.
He said that hackers could have full access to everything on the phones of WhatsApp users because of a security issue that the platform disclosed last week. All a hacker needs to do to get access to all the data on one’s phone is to send a malicious video or start a video call.
Durov said that if one thinks that updating WhatsApp to the latest version would render their data safe, that’s not really the case. He added that a similar issue was discovered in 2017, and 2018, and then in 2019 and then again in 2020. Before 2016, WhatsApp didn’t have end-to-end encryption, Durov pointed out.
“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,” he said.
The Telegram founder said that it does not matter if one is the richest person on Earth; if they have WhatsApp on their phone, all their data on the device will be accessible.
“That's why I deleted WhatsApp from my devices years ago. Having it installed creates a door to get into your phone,” said Durov.
This comes after WhatsApp issued a security advisory in September. It released a fix for a vulnerability that could allow a hacker to plant malware on one's device while they are on a video call. The security flaw has been rated ‘critical’. Another flaw it flagged could allow an attacker to plant a crafted video file.