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WhatsApp Web: why strangers can’t read “so easily”

Can I continue reading on WhatsApp Web? We explain in detail why it sounds scary but is quite unlikely.

Sometimes this is how you scroll through Google News and similar tools to get a feel for other websites. What always excites me are the issues raised by colleagues outside of everyday business. It can be instructions and advice, for example. Sometimes it is only headlines that play with our feelings (clickbait). In a current example, there were more. Because they tried to do justice to the title throughout the article, which is otherwise quite atypical for such articles.

In my opinion, the problem with this is that the title and article are almost completely misleading. One would like to create insecurity with questionable statements, just to make the “advice” itself seem much better and more useful. At the same time, the application in question is being talked about about a security problem which, in my opinion, is not a problem. On the other hand.

“Users of the WhatsApp web should be warned: Strangers can read WhatsApp messages so easily.”

WhatsApp Web: Security breach or practical function?

It was WhatsApp Messenger, more specifically WhatsApp Web. The article aims to provide information on how easy it is for other users to read your messages using this tool. Therefore, I was suspicious and attentive, so I took a closer look at the anonymous author’s contribution. The basis for assuming that WhatsApp Web is a security risk is the utmost inattention by users. This is exactly the reason why WhatsApp Web is not a gateway for other readers, but for the respective user.

“If you leave your cell phone lying down for a moment, you can allow strangers to scan the QR code displayed in the browser on WhatsApp Web and display all chats on someone else’s tablet or PC at the speed of light.” – Focus

At the beginning of the text, the author refutes the title of the topic that foreign users could use WhatsApp Web. just read. Because a stranger would have to have your laptop or similar device at hand, open WhatsApp Web and read the QR code displayed with the strange phone. This is the only way to open WhatsApp Web from someone else’s WhatsApp account. As an “attacker”, you should absolutely have physical access to the target person’s unlocked phone.

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Access to someone else’s smartphone is unlikely

When I look at my closest personal environment, there is basically never a smartphone that people unlock and activate near me. So that would be the first barely surmountable obstacle. As long as you don’t know the PIN of the other phone or you can outsmart unlocking methods like face unlock. Anyone who can unlock my phone is my wife, who in turn would not find any “secrets” on WhatsApp.

Accessing someone else’s WhatsApp through the “so simple” method seems extremely unlikely to me for the reasons mentioned.

WhatsApp Web is safe because it is very simple

In fact, due to its simple design, WhatsApp Web has several unimaginable advantages. As written, you can only log in if the original phone with the respective WhatsApp account is in physical proximity. Since until the moment of the article, it is not possible to log into WhatsApp Web without scanning the QR code.

Example: I couldn’t even log into my own WhatsApp website on my parents’ PC if I forgot my smartphone somewhere else and want to access my messages.

There is no login, password and / or username. That may be stupid, but it also serves as a safety mechanism.

Simply easy to do

And even if someone else’s WhatsApp web login is possible, there are other mechanisms to protect yourself at all times. WhatsApp Web, for example, can only be run in a single instance. If someone else is using your WhatsApp web, a message will warn you if you want to access your WhatsApp web yourself.

And what I had completely forgotten, thanks for the note in the comments, is the notification that appears on the phone when WhatsApp Web is active. This is one of the reasons why you can’t get lost if WhatsApp Web was active somewhere on your account.

Also, you can easily unregister other devices on WhatsApp on the phone. What to do if you’ve used WhatsApp Web on someone else’s device, or you’ve bought new hardware and discontinued your old one. Three-dot menu> WhatsApp> log out of one or all devices.

WhatsApp: Multi-device is on the way, but also a lock for the application

Of course, the future is exciting when WhatsApp can be used on multiple devices at the same time. Time will tell if the QR code scan will be used. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has provided a feature so that the app can also be locked with a fingerprint. So the screen lock and the WhatsApp lock are double protection against unauthorized access. “Read from outside”, for example in an open WLAN, is not possible due to encryption of messages.

Note in my own name: I do not want to defame or expose anyone. But he couldn’t leave what was written there either.