SAN FRANCISCO: Your Whatsapp online status can help hackers figure out who you are talking to so when you fall asleep due to a flaw in the micro-blogging platform, a software engineer has claimed.
After discovering the flaw in WhatsApp, Rob Heaton — that has made similar security-related findings before — exploited the flaw by developing a Chrome extension with a minimal four lines of code, Digital Trends reported late on Tuesday.
“What that means is that whenever you go offline and then come back online to read a message, that action has been logged”.
“Those online and offline actions from both participants in the conversation may then be correlated to recognize when two people are messaging each other,” the report added.
Heaton warned that data can be easily collected on a mass level and then sold to third-party firms for advertising purposes.
“People who have irregular sleeping patterns are, after all, excellent customers to sleeping pills manufacturers,” The Next Web reported.
The code can also be tweaked to correlate more than two people messaging each other.
Heaton could identify when users were going to sleep by seeing their first and last “online” statuses for the day.
According to reports, users actually can do nothing to avoid hackers from being able to spy on them, unless WhatsApp security researchers find a way out.
“Using WhatsApp, you can set the app to show your ‘last seen’ statuses to either everyone, only contacts, or no one, but no such feature exists for your online status,” the report said.