Developer Claims WhatsApp Privacy Settings Are "Broken" 7 years ago

Developer Claims WhatsApp Privacy Settings Are "Broken"

We rely on Whatsapp a LOT when it comes to staying in touch with people so we weren't too happy to learn that questions are being raised about its privacy settings.

Dutch developer Maikel Zweerink says that the messaging service can be hacked using a spy tool he created, entitled WhatsSpy Public.


Zweerink says that his invention can access a WhatsApp user's profile picture, privacy settings, status messages and online or offline status even if their privacy settings are enabled.

He also warned users that even if their privacy options are set to 'nobody', WhatsSpy Public can still track activity.

"You may think now that you've set all options to 'nobody' you are privacy-wise safe. But nevertheless I can still track your moves on WhatsApp" said Zweerink.



Speaking to The Mirror, the developer said that he had tracked his brother's Whatsapp activity for an entire day which came as a complete shock as his privacy settings were turned on at the time.

"I called him and told him and he was completely shocked, since all his privacy options were set to ‘nobody".

Zweerink, who has made this software available online, said that he created the tool so that people could see how "broken" the privacy settings are.

WhatsSpy Public only works on certain devices and it requires some technical knowledge to set up.


A spokesperson for WhatApp spoke to The Daily Mail about the claims: "This is not a “hack” of WhastApp. It appears he made an app that just monitors information he would have access to anyway.

"Last seen” and “online” are different. You can choose to not let people see “last seen” and, as the author admits in his blog post, that setting is respected based on your preference (same for profile photo). Online/offline is always visible".