WhatsApp software is a mobile application designed for smartphones, it allows interaction between users through an instant messaging system, we can write, send photos, share videos and we can soon be called in visio. The app is obviously compatible with all operating systems of smartphones and various platforms. Its main strength lies in its ease of use, indeed forget about IDs and other passwords, the features of the software are optimized for a fast and effective interaction with your smartphone. So WhatsApp uses your phone number as an identifier, and unlike other instant messaging services, you do not need to create contact lists because WhatsApp uses your contacts directory directly
The two engineers founded WhatsApp in 2009 and aim to replace texting. The idea for the app comes from Mr. Koum, Ukrainian origin who wanted to find an unsaved means of communication. Indeed, he lived with his parents in the former USSR, they avoided telephone conversations because they knew they were listened to by the communist regime. This is called a good intuition M.Koum
The success story begins in 2009. After a year of operation, the app already has a million users, and in 2011 WhatsApp reaches the symbolic bar of a billion messages. But WhatsApp will enter a new era in February 2014 following its purchase by Facebook for the tidy sum of $ 19 billion (yes Mark has some means). He won besides the auction against Google who proposed $ 10 billion. At this time, Mark Zuckerberg says, “WhatsApp is on track to connect a billion people. The services that reach these peaks are of great value. ” Was he right?
WHAT USES IN COMPANY?
Of course, most WhatsApp users have adopted it personally to chat with their friends or family. However, the application is becoming more and more popular within businesses.
So why such a craze?
These companies have become aware of the power of this medium and use it now for several services in their organization:
Improve customer service: do your customers have complaints or questions? WhatsApp allows them to reach you quickly, so it is easy to explain the situation clearly based on a photo or a video. It is mainly the service companies that use WhatsApp to meet their customers: taxis, pizza deliverers, artisans, banks
Use a new information channel: Media companies are interested in the app to broadcast their information, so the BBC used WhatsApp to launch an Ebola news feed. In Spain, a radio has created a channel of economic information. The addition of the WhatsApp button on the sites also allows users to share articles as on Twitter or Facebook, the Huffington Post uses it elsewhere.
A marketing tool to sell: if a company sells a new product or organizes an advertising campaign, it is quite possible to do it by WhatsApp: the same message can be sent to 250 contacts at one time. The share button is also interesting because it allows the distribution of your product profile or your promotion. Large groups have already tried it: Toyota, Pringles, Procter & Gamble.
In-house communication platform: Although there are many competitors specifically thought for companies (Yammer, Slack, Facebook at Work, Salesforce) many companies choose WhatsApp for their internal communication. WhatsApp is free and represents an easy form of communication between different offices and different work teams to plan or centralize information.
WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE APP?
WhatsApp has recently been using end-to-end encryption technology. Communications between users are now fully encrypted.”
What is end-to-end encryption?
When a message is sent to a recipient as text, it is scrambled as numbers, so it takes a key to decrypt it. The keys are ephemeral and disappear during the reception and therefore the decryption of the message by the user. Only the receiver can decrypt the missive, the server by which the messages are conveyed does not attempt to decrypt it, it just serves relay. This process therefore guarantees almost total anonymity.
So, hackers, cyber criminals and even WhatsApp employees are not able to read the communications.
End-to-end encryption is available to everyone as long as you have the latest version of the application, it is activated automatically, the user has no way to activate it. All devices that support the application are affected.
BUT IS IT SUFFICIENT?
It is obvious that end-to-end encryption is essential for companies, because no hacker will be able to steal information about the company if an attack targets the application. However, Whatsapp has other threats that CIOs must take into account.
The first threat lies in the loss of the business phone: if one of your employees misplaces his phone or is stolen, it is easy to exploit and steal all data in the application if it is not previously protected by a locking scheme. Indeed, unlike other instant messaging services, such as Telegram, messages sent by WhatsApp do not self-destruct.
Other threats lie in the boundary between personal and business use: WhatsApp is, for the majority of users, used for personal conversations and newsgroups unrelated to their job. If they start to mix their pro groups and their personal groups, our friends the employees will be distracted. Because yes, after checking the messages of their managers they will quickly take a look at the messages of their friends. Well, you’ll tell me that it’s not too bad, and I rather agree, however this distraction can quickly lead to errors and leaks of confidential information to people outside the company.
Another danger is that if the administrator of your WhatsApp working group leaves the company, imagine to go to a competitor, you will have no choice but to leave this group and thus lose all your history, because you will not be able to not to take away this administration. If he has left on good terms with your company, he can give the rights of administration to another person and leave the group himself, but this will not always be the case.
Finally, the worst is that in the end WhatsApp can easily be hacked by hackers since a flaw was discovered on SS7 (a system that connects them all mobile networks on the planet). It is enough for hackers to get our phone number, then they can access our encrypted messages that we exchange, can listen to our conversations and follow our position. For malicious people, it is also possible to install spyware on our devices scanning all our communications on WhatsApp. He will then have access to all your data remotely. One can imagine managers installing spyware on the pro phones of their employees to spy on them and hunt them down.
In the end WhatsApp is a powerful tool for businesses that use it wisely, it can reach an incredible number of users and communicate with its customers instantly. If it is used like other social networks, it ultimately presents little danger.
However, its use can be a source of threat, because its security, quickly bypassed, will allow malicious people to seize your data, and as much to say that if it is confidential information and “secret defense”, the repercussions on your business can be catastrophic.