Is Snapchat a threat to WhatsApp

WhatsApp, Snapchat and Co.

So-called messenger programs, such as WhatsApp, Threema, Telegram, Snapchat and the like, are enjoying increasing popularity. An app is installed on the smartphone that allows you to communicate with saved contacts who have also installed this app. Depending on the app, the contacts are either added by you or automatically via your existing phone contacts. This enables communication with a fixed, private group of people.

However, there are the following dangers when using these messenger apps:

  • Encryption: Not all messenger programs send your communication in encrypted form. Find out about this in advance and select an appropriately encrypting program.
  • Vulnerabilities: As with any other program, messengers can have security gaps that make them unsafe. Always keep your app up-to-date.
  • Private information: When using messengers, each user has their own profile. This summarizes data such as the telephone number and a display name as well as other optional information and photos. Others can see this data; it is usually sufficient to know your telephone number. It also shows whether you are currently online or when you were last online. All of this sensitive information can be used for a variety of criminal purposes - from phishing to stalking ("persistent pursuit").
  • Phishing & malware: As with other media, messengers run the risk of phishing links or malware being sent. Therefore, pay close attention to which links and files you open or which contacts you add.

additional Information

Last updated: October 6, 2020

Responsible for the content: A-SIT Center for Secure Information Technology - Austria