Speaking of The Guardian, it’s now the last week of April and they still haven’t issued a retraction of their grievously irresponsible story alleging a “backdoor” in WhatsApp from January. Zeynep Tufekci, in an open letter signed by dozens of security/cryptography experts:
was the equivalent of putting “VACCINES KILL PEOPLE” in a blaring
headline over a poorly contextualized piece. While it is true that
in a few cases, vaccines kill people through rare and unfortunate
side effects, they also save millions of lives.
You would have no problem understanding why “Vaccines Kill People”
would be a problem headline for a story, especially given the
context of anti-vaccination movements. But your series of stories
on WhatsApp does the same disservice and perpetrates a similar
public health threat against secure communications.
The behavior described in your article is not a backdoor in
WhatsApp. This is the overwhelming consensus of the
cryptography and security community. It is also the collective
opinion of the cryptography professionals whose names appear
below. The behavior you highlight is a measured tradeoff that
poses a remote threat in return for real benefits that help keep
users secure, as we will discuss in a moment. […]
Since the publication of this story, we’ve observed and heard from
worried activists, journalists and ordinary people who use
WhatsApp, who tell us that people are switching to SMS and
Facebook Messenger, among other options–many services that are
strictly less secure than WhatsApp.
The Guardian has stretched this out for three months, so it looks like they think they can run out the clock on it. Shameful — this should be an everlasting hit to their credibility.