WhatsApp ‘Online’ Status Loophole Makes It Easier for Stalkers to Track Your Usage

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 16 Apr 2021

whatsapp online status tracker app store

Many new loopholes have been discovered which makes it easier for stalkers to track anyone’s WhatsApp usage, without the user’s consent. It keeps a track of when a user is online on WhatsApp, when he/she goes offline, and for how many hours they use the service.

WhatsApp is undoubtedly one of the most popular instant messaging service out there. Even though the company has been involved in controversies, mainly involving its new privacy policy, the service is used daily by millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, with such a large audience it has become difficult for the company to ensure user’s privacy and security.

First spotted by Traced, the publication cites that there are many apps and services out there which utilize the ‘online’ status functionality of the service to keep a track of when a user is online or offline. Stalkers just simply need to input the mobile number of the person they want to track, and the app does the rest.

I tried one such app available on Apple App Store (shown in the screenshot above), and I was astonished by how simple it is for anyone to track your WhatsApp usage. Along with sending a notification when the other user is online, the service also provides full-fledged reports like last hour usage, daily usage, weekly usage, and even graphs!

The loophole opens many possibilities, including tracking the usage of blocked contacts, or even tracking when two users are talking. This goes totally against the company’s policy and user’s privacy, but then WhatsApp hasn’t officially acknowledged such services are out there.

Let alone WhatsApp, even Apple doesn’t allow such ‘cyberstalking’ apps on the App Store. It goes against their guidelines. But then considering how many fleeceware apps have clogged the App Store, it’s no surprise how this app went under the radar.

And even though this can be sorted simply — by giving users an option to hide their online status from users not in their contact list — this gives an idea of how difficult it has become for the company to manage such a large number of users.