What’s up, WhatsApp?
For years, I’ve hoped that a wider public interest in cybersecurity was just around the corner. After all, tech companies will only prioritise consumer security if it’s something consumers engage with.
If media coverage is anything to go by, it seems that’s finally starting to happen. The WhatsApp hack has received massive media coverage in the UK. It was even top story on the BBC’s Six O'Clock News. People are very interested in a threat to the popular messaging app’s security, it seems.
And yet, if you step back, it wasn’t a huge threat for most people. Only a handful of people worldwide were targeted by the vulnerability. Given the company at the centre of the controversy, the targets were likely to be the kinds of people who would know that nation states were interested in snooping on their activities.
With that in mind, the media coverage around this issue has been disproportionate — as long as you update WhatsApp, you’ll be fine. And yet, I can’t help but feel that the upside is at least people were interested this time.
All to often, major security risks to consumers barely register a flicker of interest with the public, even if they get some mainstream media coverage. If that’s changing, it can only be a good thing.