The founder of messaging app Telegram urged people to use “any messaging app” except WhatsApp to prevent their phone from being hacked.
Pavel Durov cited a security issue revealed by WhatsApp last week that allowed a hacker to hijack someone’s phone by sending a malicious video to their number.
“Hackers could have full (!) access to everything on WhatsApp users’ phones,” he said on Telegram.
“Every year we learn of a problem in WhatsApp that puts everything on its users’ devices at risk… It doesn’t matter if you are the richest person in the world, if WhatsApp is installed on your phone, all your data from all applications of your device are accessible.
The Russian tech billionaire, who lives in self-imposed exile from his home country, claimed security flaws are “backdoors planted” to allow governments, law enforcement and hackers to circumvent the encryption and other security measures.
Mr Durov has previously said that “WhatsApp will never be secure” unless fundamental changes are made to how it works.
Telegram, which is known for taking a privacy-focused approach to its app, has over 700 million active users, steadily growing by around 2 million users daily.
That’s still only a fraction of WhatsApp’s user base, which numbers around 2 billion users worldwide. It is the most popular messaging app in the world, ahead of Chinese app WeChat and Facebook Messenger, which, like WhatsApp, is owned by Meta.
“I’m not pressuring people to switch to Telegram here…Telegram doesn’t need extra promotion,” Durov wrote.
“You can use any messaging app you want, but stay away from WhatsApp – it’s been a surveillance tool for 13 years now. »
The Independent contacted WhatsApp for comment.