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The department of communications and technologies released a statement on Monday, explaining that the minister of the portfolio, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams had her WhatsApp account hacked.
“Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams WhatsApp account HACKED!!! The WhatsApp account of Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been hacked, resulting in private and confidential information being in the hands of a third party,” the department said in a tweet.
This illegal activity has been reported to relevant authorities and platform owners for action.
Obtaining and distributing information that is illegally obtained is a crime and offenders will be reported to legal authorities.
Enquiries: Mish Molakeng: 082 469 3997
— Dpt of Communications & Digital Technologies (@CommsZA) October 5, 2020
However, the reaction to the tweet was mixed, with several Twitter users commenting that it was ironic the minister of that particular department would be hacked.
“She should have known not to share sensitive information via Whatsapp, knowing that it could be easily hacked.. Just goes to show that she acted careless on her part. She is making that department look like a joke!!” one Twitter user said.
WhatsApp has end to end encryption. How exactly was she "hacked"? 🤔
– Sim cloning?
– End point analysis?
– Physical device compromise?
I mean it's much likelier
– Phishing / social engineering
– Sideloaded or installed a dodgy app
– No "hack" actually occured
— Solomon Grundy (@S0L0M0N_GRUNDY) October 5, 2020
Uhm, would you mind not lying to the public please. The only way to access whatsapp messages is to have access to the backups which means she had poor credential management. This is not classified as a hack but negligence….
— watchdog_za (@watchdog_za) October 5, 2020
No, we can’t. Because you can’t hack WhatsApp, you can only hack a person’s cellphone. The minister of communications should know this. Most likely she is facing suppoena and has some compromising communications on her WhatsApp stream. @zilevandamme
— Sybren van der Leij (@Skaapchop) October 5, 2020
😂the minister of digital tech was hacked? Does this show bad on her performance review? Does she know how to give up her position? This is like the business minister falling for the Nigerian prince scam. Sums up our gov too too well.
— RedRanger (@RedRang46111355) October 5, 2020
According to WhatsApp, it installed end to end encryption technology on the application, making it close to impossible for the messaging platform to be hacked.
“WhatsApp end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what’s sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Your messages are secured with locks, and only the recipient and you have the special keys needed to unlock and read your messages.
“For added protection, every message you send has an unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: No need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages. End-to-end encryption is always activated. There’s no way to turn off end-to-end encryption,” the technology giant said.
About sharing information with law enforcement agencies, WhatApp stated it reviews requests before co-operating with them.
“We carefully review, validate and respond to law enforcement requests based on applicable law and policy, and we prioritize responses to emergency requests.”
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