With privacy concerns on the rise, WhatsApp users are increasingly swapping numbers to protect their personal privacy.
New York City — Dec. 7, 2020 — With 2 billion+ users across the globe, WhatsApp is by far the most popular and used messaging app. But, as 2020 draws to a close, more and more WhatsApp users are feeling uneasy with their mobile number being easily visible on the wildly popular messaging app.
Call it peace of mind or being overly cautious, but one crucial fact remains inescapable; of the key pieces of data that hackers seek, a person’s mobile phone number is the holy grail. Having access to a personal phone number offers cyberthieves and other prying eyes an important port of entry for accessing private records, bank accounts, and other vital personal information such as location.
So, what’s the risk ?
“The number one problem with all social messaging apps, and not just WhatsApp, is their need for a mobile number to use the app. Unwittingly and seemingly without much alternative, we share our mobile numbers often freely, without concern for our privacy.”
Jack Flanagan co-founder of Simvacy
It’s worth pointing out WhatsApp shares data with their parent company Facebook (and also share with other Facebook affiliated companies). Data such as:
- The phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp
- Your device information such as operating system version, app version, and platform information
- Your mobile country code and network code, and flags to enable tracking
- Your usage information such as when you last used WhatsApp and the date you first registered your account, and the types and frequency of your features usage.
On top of that, with 45 million messages being sent and received every minute in WhatsApp, thousands of users every day are becoming aware that their personal mobile number is visible to anyone in their chat feed. Pertinently, it’s the “contacts” that have the faintest connection to the user – for example in group chats. This has led to WhatsApp users swapping their number to a new one that is unattached to their personal data and details whilst retaining all their important relationships and conversations.