The Facebook owned company WhatsApp Inc. has almost 700 million users out of which 70 million are from India alone. It offers three privacy features : To hide your Last Seen, Profile Picture and Status Update. However though a using a simple web based tool one can track anyone on on WhatsApp even if they have enforced WhatsApp’s strictest privacy settings : “Nobody”.
Developed by a Dutch University student, Maikel Zweerink and called WhatsSpy Public, the open-source tool can retrieve a user’s photos and status messages as well as display a timeline of when the user was actually online.
The Developer said that this was not an exploit of WhatsApp’s systems or servers but a way it was designed. Zweerink’s tool is a rough proof-of-concept that aggregates the information in a timeline of when the user was actually online or when he/she changes status messages or profile pictures. The data of two users online presence can be tracked and compared side by side too. However though there is no way to track when and what messages are being exchanged between users which I guess brings some relief to the reader.
Zweerink states that he believes that WhatsApp’s privacy features are broken because even though they are working as they are intended, users are led to believe they are more protected than they actually are.
WhatsSpy Public is a freely available tool but it needs to be downloaded and installed on a Web server. It will also require a sim card with a number not used with WhatsApp, a rooted Android or Jail-broken iPhone and 24×7 internet access for tracking the data. Thus any person without the proper set of resources and knowledge wouldn’t be able to spy on you yet. However if you need a proof if the tool actually works, Zweerink offers to carry out a scan on your account provided you mail him your phone number used with WhatsApp.