UN Officers Not Allowed to Use WhatsApp Over Safety Considerations

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United Nations officers don’t use WhatsApp to speak as a result of “it isn’t supported as a safe mechanism,” a UN spokesman mentioned on Thursday, after UN consultants accused Saudi Arabia of utilizing the web communications platform to hack the telephone of Amazon chief govt and Washington Submit proprietor Jeff Bezos. The impartial UN consultants mentioned on Wednesday that they had data pointing to the “doable involvement” of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman within the alleged 2018 cyber-attack on the billionaire Amazon.com chief.

They known as for a right away investigation by US and different authorities, based mostly on a forensic report by Washington-based FTI Consulting. The report alleges that Bezos’ iPhone was hijacked by a malicious video file despatched from a WhatsApp account utilized by the crown prince.

When requested if UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres had communicated with the Saudi crown prince or every other world leaders utilizing WhatsApp, UN spokesman Farhan Haq mentioned on Thursday: “The senior officers on the UN have been instructed to not use WhatsApp, it isn’t supported as a safe mechanism.”

“So no, I don’t consider the secretary-general makes use of it,” Haq mentioned. He later added that the directive to not use WhatsApp was given to UN officers in June final yr.

When requested in regards to the transfer by the United Nations, WhatsApp mentioned it offers industry-leading safety for greater than 1.5 billion customers.

“Each personal message is protected by end-to-end encryption to assist stop WhatsApp or others from viewing chats. The encryption know-how that we developed with Sign is very regarded by safety consultants and stays the perfect accessible for individuals around the globe,” mentioned WhatsApp Director of Communications Carl Woog.

For that cause, any ban that particularly singles out WhatsApp, which is owned by Fb Inc, may go away digital safety consultants scratching their heads.

WhatsApp “is taking safety very severely in comparison with others,” mentioned researcher Oded Vanunu, whose firm, Tel Aviv-based Checkpoint, commonly finds flaws in messaging apps.

“Each software has vulnerabilities you’ll be able to exploit ultimately,” he mentioned, earlier than noting that WhatsApp was significantly good at fixing them. “Different immediate messaging corporations can dream of their sort of safety procedures,” he mentioned.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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