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article imageSecret-sharing app Whisper exposes users' personal data Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 14, 2020 in Internet
A data breach has occurred with the secret-sharing app Whisper, which has left users’ locations together with their more sensitive fetishes exposed on the Internet. Robert Prigge, CEO of Jumio discusses with Digital Journal.
For those unfamiliar with the app, Whisper is an anonymous social network designed to enable people who register with the service to share their ideas and fantasies with each other. This takes the form of people posting ‘whispers’ (what the social network uses for a post). Generally these are the kind of things that many people would wish to be kept relatively low-profile. According to The Independent, the app is used by people to post confessions and discuss private matters ranging from subjects like sexuality, unwanted pregnancies and domestic abuse.
According to the Washington Post, some 900 million accounts have been found to have their information publicly accessible as the database holding the personally identifiable information, together with many compromising details, was not password protected.
What is also concerning, as TechCrunch notes, is that the investigation traced .3 million results when searching the database for users that had listed their age as being 15 (users are required to be aged 13 and over to use Whisper).
While the breach has now been addressed, the issued still raises cybersecurity concerns about a great number of apps, Robert Prigge, CEO of Jumio tells Digital Journal.
Prigge explains: "Whisper's failure to protect its online database has opened this secret-sharing app's 900 million users up to some serious trouble.£
This brings with it serious issues: "Due to the sensitive nature of the compromised customer data, Whisper's users are now prime candidates for blackmail and account takeover fraud, where a hacker could use this stolen information to access other accounts, posing a problem for other businesses that could fall victim as a result."
Getting to the root of the problem, Prigge notes: "Until organizations stop relying on outdated verification methods, we can expect to see this same vicious cycle to continue."
In terms of preventative actions, Prigge recommends: "It is vital that organizations turn to biometric authentication, which is significantly more secure, reliable, and delivers a much higher level of assurance. Leveraging biometrics will protect the next generation of consumers while avoiding the same basic security pitfalls that are fueling the fraud epidemic plaguing enterprises and consumers alike."
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