WhatsApp confirms bug permits users to bypass new iOS privacy controls; here’s what you must know

By: | Updated: February 23, 2019 5:56 PM

The big revelation came at a time when many online messaging services and other applications are striving to make improvements in security and privacy policies.

apple phone, apple india, WhatsApp bug, WhatsApp apple, WhatsApp iphone, apple touch ID, apple facial recognitionWhatsApp’s new privacy feature requires iPhone users to have Touch ID or Face ID.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday confirmed that a bug in its instant messaging app is letting its users bypass new privacy controls. The new privacy controls were launched by the company for its iOS users February. The confirmation comes after many of its users took to social media platforms to write posts about the issue.

The big reveal came at a time when many online messaging services and other applications are striving to make improvements in security and privacy policies; Facebook Inc too shows the willingness to address criticism for privacy breaches.

WhatsApp’s new privacy feature requires iPhone users to have Touch ID or Face ID, which is fingerprint or facial recognition, in order to open WhatsApp. However, many users were able to get around these log-in methods with the help of iPhone’s “share” option to send files over the app.

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At the time of log-in, users can set up verification so that they need to provide Touch ID or Face ID every time they access WhatsApp or even intervals of up to an hour; this would allow users to toggle between multiple apps on the Apple device for that time duration.

This set security system fails when users choose any interval option besides the “immediately” function.

A user on Reddit named “u/de_X_ter” wrote a post giving details about the problem on Tuesday.

“We are aware of the issue and a fix will be available shortly. In the meantime, we recommend that people set the screen lock option to ‘immediately,’” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Reuters through email.

In the previous month, a user found a privacy flaw with Apple’s FaceTime group video chat software, in which iPhone users were able to see and hear others prior to accepting a video call. The company had launched an iOS update to fix this bug.

It is yet to be ascertained whether this WhatsApp bug would need a similar fix.

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