Is WhatsApp more secure than iMessage, as assured by Mark Zuckerberg?

Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp is more secure and reliable than iMessage. In reality, these messengers each have distinct security weaknesses.

After the mutual criticisms on the metaverse, the invectives between Facebook and Apple continue more than ever. Mark Zuckerberg, in a photo posted on his Instagram account on Monday, attacks Apple’s iMessage messaging system. He denounces its lack of security and praises the merits of WhatsApp, another application from his Meta group. Yet the two apps each show different signs of weakness when it comes to security. Apple for its lack of interoperability and security between devices, WhatsApp for its limitations in reporting.

iMessage, encrypted… between iPhone

In fact, Apple does use end-to-end encryption when sending messages. Thus, the content cannot be decrypted by the company’s servers. Also, when an iPhone sends a message to an Android device, a green bubble is displayed. Between two iPhones, a blue bubble appears. This color scheme reveals much more because encryption does not apply if an iPhone communicates with an Android device, as Mark Zuckerberg does not hesitate to point out.

Encrypted messages can be saved on iCloud, but the Apple brand specifies that it can communicate this data to the authorities in the event of a search warrant. However, it is possible to disable iCloud backups or to do it directly to a computer using encryption.

Apple continues its policy of all iPhone. The iOS 16 update allows you to unsend messages up to two minutes later and edit them up to five times. This requires both devices to have iOS 16 installed and, again, is for iPhone-to-iPhone communication only.

WhatsApp, encrypted, but…

For its part, WhatsApp uses the same type of encryption as other so-called “secure” applications, such as Signal. However, this encryption can easily be lifted, from the moment a message is flagged as inappropriate. From then on, the WhatsApp moderation teams have access to the four previous messages. In the event of a report, WhatsApp may decide to perform an automated moderation analysis using artificial intelligence so that it takes the necessary, but also human, measures.

In general, WhatsApp, on the other hand, has access to the user’s metadata, which are never encrypted: telephone number, name, associated accounts or even the time of sending messages are accessible to its teams.

The question of confidentiality also arises when a company exchanges with its customers on WhatsApp. Indeed, if the messages are encrypted between two individuals, this is not necessarily the case when a user exchanges with a professional, for example for after-sales service or the sale of products remotely. As WhatsApp explains itthe professional is free to encrypt or not the conversations, or to use the content of these exchanges for marketing purposes.

Regarding the deletion of messages, WhatsApp gives its users the possibility to make them disappear after sending and to delete chats after 24 hours, seven days or 90 days.

End of September, Facebook was prosecuted for allegedly establishing a workaround to the latest privacy policies put in place by Apple. This allows users to opt out of being tracked by apps at all times.

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Is WhatsApp more secure than iMessage, as assured by Mark Zuckerberg?

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