WhatsApp has not had a good run lately, more so after its role in the alleged hacking of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s phone, putting the platform’s claims of security and privacy in a questionable position. Add to it reports claiming that a WhatsApp vulnerability could have allowed attackers to remotely access files from a computer, or UN officials getting barred from using WhatsApp citing security concerns. Tesla chief Elon Musk has now taken a jibe at WhatsApp owing to its recent security fiasco, labelling it as a platform that comes with a free phone hack risk.
Musk tweeted an image that showed the different versions of the robotic arm emoji favoured by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and WhatsApp. While the image has no hidden meaning on its own, Musk’s comment is what catches the attention. “New emoji! Last one comes with free phone hack”, Musk wrote. This is a not-so-veiled potshot at the Facebook-owned platform, which made headlines after reports emerged that Amazon chief Bezos’ phone was hacked, allegedly at the behest of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Tesla and SpaceX chief, who is often labelled as the Internet’s favourite inventor of the modern times, is not the only high-profile name to take a shot at WhatsApp in the wake of the recent scandal. Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov recently said using WhatsApp is dangerous, and wrote a scathing blog post criticising the platform’s ‘corrupt video exploit’ and a shallow promise of privacy that lacks sufficient technical backing. While Facebook claimed that WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable and later blamed Apple’s iOS operating system for the highly-publicised incident involving Bezos, questions still linger.
UN officials reportedly don’t use WhatsApp citing security concerns, which is a pretty big statement in itself. And as for the ongoing investigation in the high profile case, the UN has reportedly found credible a forensic report commissioned by Bezos’ security team concluding that his phone was probably hacked with a corrupted video sent from a WhatsApp account. Needless to say, WhatsApp is in hot waters right now, and with a name like Musk chiming in, the controversy is going to attract widespread attention.