WhatsApp in News: No Smoke without Fire?

  • Lower version mobiles on WhatsApp services will be disrupted.
  • Competition and security are key reasons to stop services as said by Company.
  • Older versions of mobile phones are mainly used by Indians.
  • In the wake of security issues stated by WhatsApp, Indians have a hole in the pocket, courtesy high-end mobile phones.
  • Some companies are following  WhatsApp path.

Touted to be world’s most popular messaging application, WhatsApp is in the news once again. Recently there were reports of two files with malicious content doing the rounds on WhatsApp. Due to this, security agencies of India have alerted central intelligence as it could be a threat to the government and its important information.

From the beginning of January 2017, WhatsApp services were barred from the older version of Andriod and IOS. A lot of user complaints flooded in and later another announcement was made by the company. This has shocked the corporate companies and Tech analyzers.

In an official statement on the company blog, WhatsApp had written, “As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use. So, by the end of 2016, we will be ending support for WhatsApp Messenger on some mobile platforms.

While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.”

Is Security at Stake?

Just a few days back, there has been a buzz about two virus files floating on the WhatsApp platform. According to reports the two corrupt files are ‘NDA-ranked-8th-toughest-College-in-the-world-to-get-into.xls’ and ‘NIA-selection-order-.xls’. Security agencies have already warned of threats that could lead to leaking of crucial information like banking passwords and other important details regarding the country too.

In 2016, WhatsApp had gone against the Indian Telecom rules and had used 256 Bit encryption without any key. WhatsApp had clarified that no one can hack as it has end-to-end encryption and no virus could enter the app. Without Government’s permission, WhatsApp had configured high encrypted message but TRAI did not take any action against the same.

Inspite of 256 Bit encryption, two virus files are floating across on WhatsApp Platform. But the bigger question is How?

No more WhatsApp on these Phones

In Android 2.1 or 2.2, iPhone 3GS or iOS 6 WhatsApp has stopped working. The company mentioned that users with older handsets will have to simply go for a newer phone.
In response to complaints, Company stated on the blog that, “We are extending support for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian until June 30, 2017

Telegram follows WhatsApp Path

Another big shocker for the users was one of the most popular mobile messengers Telegram was no longer supporting devices on Android 2.2, Android 2.3 and Android 3.0. Here the highlight was that no official announcement was made about the same and was updated in Application FAQ.

According to Telegram’s new FAQ, “you can use Telegram on smartphones, tablets, and even computers. We have apps for iOS (6 and above), Android (4.0 and up) and Windows Phone. You can also use Telegram’s web version or install one of our desktop apps for Windows, OSX, and Linux.”

Behind the Story

WhatsApp is so popular that it is used by more than one billion users. Especially India has a vast user base for the application. India has more than 16 crores active users every month. Most of the users have low-end phones and after WhatsApp’s recent action, many of them are not able to access the app. Just a few days before the announcement, the two virus files were floating on the platform. Analyzers have seen a connect there.

Later a report in the Independent said that WhatsApp mentioned that the move had been made to ensure that the app could continue to introduce new features and stay secure, which relies on the app being used on newer operating systems.

According to analysts, “India is facing the brunt because it is the people who will have to shell out money to get a hold on new higher version phones.

Interesting facts about WhatsApp in India

  • 2016 Diwali (One day) saw more than 800 crore messages through WhatsApp to greet each other.
  • India is the biggest market for WhatsApp and has supported 10 Indian languages.
  • WhatsApp parent company Facebook has 15.5 crore users, whereas WhatsApp has 16 crore users.