The Biggest Vulnerabilities in Consumer-Grade Messaging Apps Causing Security Concerns

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

Today, consumer-grade messaging apps like WhatsApp are still being used in enterprises across the globe. That is both surprising and alarming given that the security vulnerabilities in these apps pose significant risk to data security and privacy.

The security vulnerabilities associated with consumer-grade messaging apps essentially open the door to cybercriminals, inviting them in to steal data, compromise systems and disrupt operations. That all adds up to a security and compliance nightmare for organizations. Data from SafeGuard Cyber revealed that of the messages flagged by their platform for security or compliance risks, 42% occurred in WhatsApp.

The growing number of increasingly damaging cyberthreats coupled with the known security vulnerabilities of communication apps designed for consumer use are compelling reasons why enterprises should beware of using these apps.

Here are some of the ways cybercriminals are exploiting consumer-grade messaging apps to gain access to information and systems and wreak havoc on enterprises:

Data breaches

Consumer messaging apps are targeted by cybercriminals to steal and leak valuable enterprise data. Hackers use this data for financial fraud, identity theft and extortion. Ramifications of data breaches including regulatory fines, operational disruption, legal penalties, and reputational damage are extensive and costly for organizations. During the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, data breaches exposed more than 8 million records worldwide.

Phishing campaigns

Phishing campaigns are a tried and true tactic for cybercriminals but with the advent of generative AI they are becoming more sophisticated and convincing. Bad actors are using unsecure communication channels to trick employees into revealing things like financial information, system login credentials and other sensitive business information or click on malicious links that may install malware on the user’s device. According to Proofpoint, direct financial losses from phishing attacks soared 76% in 2023.

Malware attacks

Consumer-grade communications apps are also being exploited by cybercriminals to install malicious software called malware on devices to steal data and damage or destroy computers and computer systems. A staggering 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected every day and there are now more than 1 billion malware programs in existence.


Hackers also target unsecure communication apps to distribute ransomware. Threat actors use ransomware to encrypt files or block access to a system or device, rendering it inaccessible until the attacker receives a ransom payment. According to Check Point, 1 in every 10 organizations worldwide were hit by attempted ransomware attacks in 2023, up 33% from 2022.

Account compromise

Account compromise is another threat associated with using tools designed for consumer use in the enterprise. Unauthorized access to consumer-grade communications apps can result in credential theft that allows attackers to intercept sensitive business information, use an account to launch additional damaging attacks or send malicious messages.

Organizations can steer clear of risky consumer-grade messaging apps by adopting secure mobile messaging platforms purpose built for the enterprise. Mobile messaging technology like NetSfere provides the robust security and full IT control enterprises need to secure data, protect privacy and remain compliant.

Featuring end-to-end encryption that protects data at rest and in transit and centralized management that gives IT departments the control mechanisms they need to securely manage the distribution of information across the enterprise, NetSfere is mobile messaging technology configured for maximum security and privacy.

Enterprises today should not be using communications apps that ought to come with a warning label when they can use NetSfere’s best-in-class, end-to-end encrypted mobile messaging platform for secure, compliant, frictionless, and productive business communication.

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