WhatsApp flaw could allow attackers to decrypt messages

The popular mobile messaging application WhatsApp Messenger has a major design flaw in its cryptographic implementation that could allow attackers to decrypt intercepted messages, according to a Dutch developer.

The problem is that the same key is used to encrypt both outgoing and incoming streams between the client and the WhatsApp server, said Thijs Alkemade, a computer science and mathematics student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and lead developer of the open-source Adium instant messaging client for Mac OS X.

“RC4 is a PRNG [pseudo-random number generator] that generates a stream of bytes, which are xored [a crypto operation] with the plaintext that is to be encrypted. By xoring the ciphertext with the same stream, the plaintext is recovered,” Alkemade said Tuesday in a blog post that describes the issue in detail.

SOURCE: computerworld.com