The recent WhatsApp™ hack is pretty alarming: all the hackers had to do was drop a missed encrypted WhatsApp call to their target and—boom—spyware was installed. The hack didn’t require the user to do anything—even if the user didn’t pick up the phone the spyware would still be installed. But maybe what’s most important about it is that it shines a light on the myth that security is equal to end-to-end encryption.
Shortly after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced that they were divorcing, the National Enquirer published text messages that Bezos had reportedly sent to Lauren Sanchez, who he is currently in a relationship with. Bezos, like everybody else, is entitled to his privacy. These text messaging leaks, however, remind us that security is a must in order to protect personal information—whether business related, financial or private conversations with friends and family.
The DNC email leak in 2016 revealed just how insecure email communications can be. It should be no surprise that government officials have been turning to other, more secure mediums, to communicate. White House staffers have reportedly usedthe encryption app Confide to communicate, French president Macron’s inner circle has reliedonTelegram, and former Australia Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull turned to Wickr and Whatsapp. But as government messaging solutions go, such tools are limited, and in most cases not as secure as one might think. They may offer encryption but they fail to secure messages on devices and don’t address critical compliance issues related to government communication.