Browser extension boosts the security of WhatsApp on the Web


Meta has launched the Code Verify extension for the Chrome, Firefox and Edge browsers. — AFP Relaxnews

Are you using WhatsApp on your computer? Now you can find out if your account has been hacked or tampered with.

The Meta group has teamed up with a security service to create an extension that can verify the authenticity of the connection to your WhatsApp account by checking the code being served to your browser. Here’s how it works.

Since rolling out the WhatsApp messaging platform to browsers, Meta has observed an increase in its use via the web application. This change in usage has led the American giant to think differently about user security. With this in mind, Meta has teamed up with security specialists Cloudflare to launch Code Verify.

This new project, which takes the form of a web extension, allows users to check the integrity of their WhatsApp account on the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers. “No other end-to-end encrypted messaging service has this level of security for people’s communications on the Web. In addition to deploying Code Verify for WhatsApp Web, it is also being offered as open source so that other services can use it as well,” explains Meta in a news release.

To use the extension, users simply have to pin it to their browser’s toolbar. Then, the Code Verify extension analyses the code that runs when launching the WhatsApp web application, in order to determine whether your account has been compromised: “If there are any inconsistencies, Code Verify will notify the user,” explains the American group. The user has no further action to perform in order to launch the analysis process.

Code Verify uses a colour code system to alert users. Green indicates that there is no violation, orange advises users to refresh the page and alerts them that another extension may be interfering with Code Verify’s checks. Finally, red indicates a problem with the code sent by WhatsApp Web.

The user will then have to click on “Learn More” to find out how to resolve the issue: “If it has not been addressed as a known issue, log out of WhatsApp Web and use WhatsApp on your mobile device, as your messages on the web might no longer be private. If you want to investigate the issue further, click the red validation failure warning and download the source code,” reads the WhatsApp Help Center.

The social networking giant, which has faced numerous scandals regarding data collection, is keen to reassure its users on the subject: “The extension doesn’t log any data, metadata, or user data, and it does not share any information with WhatsApp. It also does not read or access the messages you send or receive.

“In fact, neither WhatsApp nor Meta will know whether someone has downloaded the Code Verify extension. Additionally, the Code Verify extension never sends messages or chats between WhatsApp users to Cloudflare.” – AFP Relaxnews

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