Whatsapp is not the most secure instant messaging app out there, we know this because a new hack, called WhatsSpy Public is making sure of that.

WhatsSpy Public is a simple piece of software that can allow anyone – if interested – see the online/offline status of any Whatsapp user alongside their status messages and profile pictures even with austere privacy settings.

The software can bypass privacy settings and show whether users are online or off even when they don’t want the information “public”.

The web-based software was designed by Dutch student/developer, Maikeal Zweerink. According to him, the hack is proof that there are some inherent vulnerability in Whatsapp.

“The privacy options in WhatsApp act like they give you full control over your status in WhatsApp meanwhile they only affect a very limited scope”, Maikel explains, “By setting the “last seen” privacy option to “nobody” you think no one can view if you’re online but this is not the case. What is even worse, that these events can be followed by anyone. The ability for a complete stranger to follow your in-app status is pretty creepy and might be abused already. This is not a “hack” or “exploit” but it’s broken by design.”

WhatsSpy is fully functional and with a secondary Whatsapp account, rooted Android phone, jailbroken iPhone and/or a knowledge of PHP, anyone can set up a web server using the software to track other Whatsapp users.

Whatsapp scores high (5/7) in the Electronic Frontier Foundation IMs safety of use and this may read like a little snag with privacy in the Facebook owned multiplatform instant messaging app that can be easily tuned out, but thinking of what has already been done with WhatsSpy so far and the possibility accrued to this could generate real concern.

Photo Credit: DownloadsourceES via Compfight cc

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