It May Be Impossible To Delete Your Messages If You Use WhatsApp
Use WhatsApp? It might not be as secure as you think.
Blogger Jonathan Zdziarski revealed a pretty big hole in the app's privacy.
He claims traces of messages are still stored on the app even if you've cleared, archived and deleted them.
Explaining how he did it, Jonathan wrote,
To test, I installed the app and started a few different threads. I then archived some, cleared, some, and deleted some threads. I made a second backup after running the 'Clear All Chats' function in WhatsApp. None of these deletion or archival options made any difference in how deleted records were preserved. In all cases, the deleted SQLite records remained intact in the database.
But the blogger says we shouldn't be worried about anything insidious taking place.
It's not like WhatsApp is purposely trying to keep hold of our data -- the firm is merely not deleting the records.
The reason behind this, in the least techy terms, is because WhatsApp uses SQLite.
Deleted material from apps that use SQLite are added to a "free list," and these records don't get overwritten until the database needs more storage.
And people who use WhatsApp aren't the only victims. Jonathan said iMessage suffers from the problem.
Apple's iMessage has this problem and it's just as bad, if not worse. Your SMS.db is stored in an iCloud backup, but copies of it also exist on your iPad, your desktop, and anywhere else you receive iMessages. Deleted content also suffers the same fate.
What does this mean?
Well, it means any genius who knows more about hacking than you and I could get a hold of your old messages if he or she wanted to. By the same means, it would also be possible for officials to source such information for an investigation.
But Jonathan stresses we should not panic, just be aware WhatsApp leaves a "forensic footprint."