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WhatsApp bug allows users to bypass the new privacy settings

FILE PHOTO: The WhatsApp messaging app is seen on a screen of the telephone 3 August 2017. REUTERS/Thomas/White File Photo

(Reuters) – A security bug allowing users to bypass the new privacy settings introduced by the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp on the iphone this month, the service said on Wednesday after the users aware of the problem on social media.

The announcement comes as messaging and other applications race to improve security and privacy, and Facebook Inc. is addressing the criticism is not for the protection of privacy.

WhatsApp’s new privacy feature allows iPhone users to require Touch ID or Face ID — the fingerprint or facial recognition — to open the app, but users can bypass that log-in methods by the use of the iPhone’s “share” function to send files via WhatsApp.

Users can set that authentication is required immediately at the log-in, which means that they would need to deliver Touch ID or Face ID each time they open WhatsApp, or with intervals of an hour, allowing them to switch between apps on the iPhone for that period.

The security of the system failing when users select an interval other than “immediately”.

A user with the name “u/de_X_ter” wrote a Reddit post here detailed description of the problem on Tuesday. Reuters confirmed the bug.

“We are aware of the problem and a solution will be available soon. In the meantime, we recommend that people set up the screen lock option ‘directly’,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said by e-mail.

Last month, a user has discovered a privacy leak with Apple’s FaceTime video chat software, which iPhone users to see and hear from others before they accept a video call. Apple rolled out an iOS update to fix the problem.

Apple has not immediately respond to questions, or a similar fix would be needed for WhatsApp”.

Reporting by Arjuna Panchadar in Bengaluru, the Writing of Katie Paul; Editing by Bill Trott

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