After Indian government, IIT professor points out how WhatsApp messages can be traced

Professor from IIT Madras says that there two ways that WhatsApp messages can be traced back to their original sendersPixabay

  • An Indian professor with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) has found two ways around WhatsApp end-to-end encryption.
  • His report, submitted to the Madras high court, highlights how these methods can be used to trace WhatsApp messages back to their original sender.
  • The Indian government also suggested adding ‘digital fingerprints’ to messages on WhatsApp last month to help counter the problem of fake news.
Last month, the Indian government suggested adding ‘ digital fingerprints’ to messages on WhatsApp so that the origin of messages can be traced without necessarily needing to spy on the content of the messages.

And now, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), V. Kamakoti, has outlined two by methods by which WhatsApp can backtrack messages to determine where they came from. He has submitted his report to Madras High Court, according to the Economic Times.


One way or another

The first way to trace messages back to their sender on WhatsApp is to embed the first sender’s information with the message making it easy to identify at a glance, where the message originated from.

This information will be visible to everyone who receives the message.


The second method at WhatsApp’s disposal is to encrypt the sender’s information with the message when it is sent, it won’t be visible to everyone but can be accessed by law enforcement when needed.

Kamakoti also suggested that if someone makes a change or alters the forwarded message in some form, then he also becomes the one of the original senders. These changes could be anything from just changing to the text of the message or even adding audio or video files as an attachment.

WhatsApp has nothing to add


WhatsApp has said it has nothing new to add in response to a query from Economic Times sent to the company. WhatsApp has maintained the importance of a users privacy and encryption as a cornerstone of its product.

While implementing a way to trace the origins of a message that could lead to potential incidents can be useful, the underlying consequences must be weighed against a user’s privacy.

See also:
Indian government has found a way to trace WhatsApp messages without breaking encryption

WhatsApp hack: Indian government calls it an issue of 'national cybersecurity'

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