Warning To All Politicians.
You’re not only putting yourself, you are putting all of us at risk.
It is amazing that the Leaders of the free world and high ranking Politicians use the same Instant Messengers as the rest of us.
The majority of MP’s in the United Kingdom use WhatsApp , the Instant Messenger owned by Facebook, the worlds leader of selling and sharing peoples information, and also in the running for the worlds Most Incompetent Security Messures for their Data Breaches.
Other MP’s have moved to rival apps due to enhanced privacy and security as messages can be set to “self-destruct”, like Snapchat, after reading.
SnapChat, Enhanced Privacy and Security?!
SnapChat uses 70’s end to end encryption protocols, and it was Proven that it was possible to intercept Snaps during the transmission process, using what is known as a man-in-the-middle attack. Although Snaps are encrypted, it was demonstrated that they could be decrypted by reverse-engineering. So much for Enhanced Privacy and Security.
Fact: Everyone of the Instant Messenger which are deemed as Safe and Secure are ALL Vulnerable to Man In the Middle Attacks.
Not only British Politicians are making this unwise decision of choosing an unsecured, non private instant messaging tool, this is widespread, American Politicians, India Politicians, Australian Politicians etc. WhatsApp is the most commonly used instant communication tool used by politicians throughout the world.
While the Whitehouse considers to implement a Ban on Huawei products and services, sighting National Security, they are completely ignoring the obvious threat of using FREE, Un-Secured Messengers.
Telegram has grown in popularity ever since its release. Being touted as much more private and secure than WhatsApp, SnapChat and a slew of others. However, it too lacks the security needed for confidential communications.
Just like all the rest, Telegram uses your Phone Number as your Messenger I.D. This is a weakness, and a security concern.
By default conversations are encrypted between the cloud server and each user, not from user-to-user. This means that Telegram holds the encryption keys and can read any cloud conversation. So, to put it bluntly one needs to trust Telegram.
Where exactly are these Cloud Servers of Telegram, (not to mention how are they paying for these), and under which jurisdiction are they adherent to? That is a good question, for we all know that laws and regulations, when it comes to data storage and the protection of said storage, vary greatly from country to country.
Remember, a “Cloud” is nothing more than a Server located elsewhere which is accessible remotely.
If your data, your chats, your information is stored on a Server, Cloud or ortherwise, it is accessible, hackable, obtainable and seizable. Ask Hillary Clinton.
A Text Message with So Much Power.
Let us keep in mind that Politicians have major influence on Foreign and Domestic Policy. They steer the financial course of a country that effects millions.
If one would like to Influence a Politician, a simple way would be to get a hold of some private communications between them and their Spouse, Children, or even friends. Conversations that were thought to be Private and Secure could be used as a weapon to sway a politician to vote one way or another.
“Your conversation between yourself and Mr. X was quite interesting. Unless you would like it to be publicly exposed, I suggest you reconsider your vote on Proposition XYZ.”
“ Does your husband know about your secert meetings with Mr. Perfect? I sure do.”
“Those were rather interesting Photos you sent to your wife, you must be working out. It you don’t want them on the front page of tomorrows newspaper I suggest you vote NO on tomorrows vote.”
It is incredulous that a towns, a cities, a countries Governmental body, uses FREE, Security Flawed, Non-Private, Vulnerable to Man In The Middle Attack, Instant Messengers.
If you are within this circle, if you have been voted into a position of power, one that can cast a vote that will effect millions, and then calmly say:
“ I’m not using WhatsApp for Governmental communications.” that’s not good enough.
As stated above, all of your communications, whether they be work related or on a more personal and private matter, in the wrong hands, could be used against you, and us!
Don’t risk it.
To all Politicians:
STOP Using WhatsApp.
STOP Using Telegram.
STOP Using Signal.
None of the above mentioned Instant Messengers use State Of The Art Technology. All of them are dependant on 1970’s Encryption Technology and Public Key exchange models. The vulnerable Central Server is still part of the equation and storing ones communications within a Cloud is anything but safe.
I will go as far in saying that:
“If you are a politician and are using Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, to send private messages you are in derelict of duty, and are putting your constituents at risk.”
About the Author:
Mark Aaron Babbitt is an American living overseas, and holds the position of Chief Communications Officer with the Cyber Security Company Crypviser GmbH, headquartered in Germany.