February News Bytes

How Safe is the Data You Share on WhatsApp?
According to recent reports, the messages you send via WhatsApp may be vulnerable to interception by Facebook and other parties. The security protocols that are in use on WhatsApp protect user data through end-to-end encryption, which involves assigning unique security keys to users who subsequently trade and verify these keys as they exchange messages. However, when a user goes offline, WhatsApp automatically creates a new set of security keys, and this entails that the owner of WhatsApp, Facebook, can intercept and read the exchange. According to Tobias Boelter, a cryptographer from the University of California Berkeley whose research unearthed the issue, WhatsApp could technically employ this protocol to comply with government requests for data retrieval without your prior knowledge. WhatsApp denied that it would ever use users’ information in this way.

Cortana Hits the Android Lock Screen
In a bid to further enhance the user experience of Cortana on Android, Microsoft has announced plans to introduce new methods of accessing the personal assistant from the Android lock screen via a quick and simple swipe. The new feature, which is clearly intended to replace the quick access functionality and persuade users to choose Cortana, allows users to activate Cortana by simply swiping left or right on the logo. The new functionality is currently in the test phase, but interested users can choose to trial the feature by opting in to the trial at the Google Play Store.

Microsoft Steps up Protection Against Hackers
The latest version of Windows is more secure against hackers than ever before according to Microsoft. However, if you’re seeking the highest level of protection, you can expect to pay a hefty price.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update contains security patches that are designed to protect users against unidentified vulnerabilities that attackers use to steal their data. However, to make the most of the new security features, users are required to register for Windows Defender ATP, a service that is limited to Windows Enterprise E5 users. This represents a significant departure from Microsoft’s previous strategy of ensuring equal security measures were available to all users.