WhatsApp Vulnerability

Monitoring Sleep Habits

A software engineer has detected a vulnerability in the WhatsApp messaging application through which it is possible to get information about its activity through the ‘Online’ indicator of the ‘app’. For this, has developed an extension for the Google Chrome browser that is able to monitor the activity of other users.

Software engineer Rob Heaton has posted a ‘post‘ on his personal website detailing WhatsApp allows its users to choose who can view their last connection in the app – all the world, all their contacts or anyone else – but it is not possible to hide the ‘Online’ status indicator that is displayed in real time.

Based on this vulnerability, Heaton has developed an extension for Google Chrome that, running with the web version of WhatsApp, allows to monitor and elaborate a graph of the routines of the activity of the application by its users, and thus obtain information personnel such as the sleeping habits of the spied person.

Rob Heaton has put forward in his publication a scenario in which an individual uses this extension, configurable “with four lines of JavaScript”, to control the habits of use of a person’s WhatsApp, and thus determine what their sleep schedules. Moreover, the computer engineer has managed to combine the monitoring data of several users to determine if they are in contact with each other.

The author of this Chrome extension has warned that this data could be sold to health insurers and credit bureaus, “both very suspicious of people who are awake at four in the morning.”

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