Over The Top (OTT)
OTT messaging platforms have taken the world by storm; everyone across the globe is working on OTT platforms, and they have changed the dynamics of accessibility and information speed forever. Whatsapp is one of the leading OTT messaging platforms under the tech giant Meta as of 2013. All tasks, whether personal or professional, can be performed over Whatsapp, and as of today, Whatsapp has 2.44 billion users worldwide, with 487.5 Million users in India alone. With such a vast user base, it is pertinent to have proper safety and security measures and mechanisms on these platforms and active reporting options for the users. The growth of OTT platforms has been exponential in the previous decade. As internet penetration increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, the following factors contributed towards the growth of OTT platforms –
- Urbanisation and Westernisation
- Access to Digital Services
- Media Democratization
- Increased Internet Penetration
These factors have been influential in providing exceptional content and services to the consumers, and extensive internet connectivity has allowed people from the remotest part of the country to use OTT messaging platforms. But it is pertinent to maintain user safety and security by the platforms and abide by the policies and regulations to maintain accountability and transparency.
New Safety Features
Keeping in mind the safety requirements and threats coming with emerging technologies, Whatsapp has been crucial in taking out new technology and policy-based security measures. A number of new security features have been added to WhatsApp to make it more difficult to take control of other people’s accounts. The app’s privacy and security-focused features go beyond its assertion that online chats and discussions should be as private and secure as in-person interactions. Numerous technological advancements pertaining to that goal have focussed on message security, such as adding end-to-end encryption to conversations. The new features allegedly increase user security on the app.
WhatsApp announced that three new security features are now available to all users on Android and iOS devices. The new security features are called Account Protect, Device Verification, and Automatic Security Codes
- For instance, a new programme named “Account Protect” will start when users migrate an account from an old device to a new one. If users receive an unexpected alert, it may be a sign that someone is trying to access their account without their knowledge. Users may see an alert on their previous handset asking them to confirm that they are truly transitioning away from it.
- To make sure that users cannot install malware to access other people’s messages, another function called “Device Verification” operates in the background. Without the user’s knowledge, this feature authenticates devices in the background. In particular, WhatsApp claims it is concerned about unlicensed WhatsApp applications that contain spyware made explicitly for this use. Users do not need to take any action due to the company’s new checks that help authenticate user accounts to prevent this.
- The final feature is dubbed “automatic security codes,” It builds on an already-existing service that lets users verify that they are speaking with the person they believe they are. This is still done manually, but by default, an automated version will be carried out with the addition of a tool to determine whether the connection is secure.
While users can now view the code by visiting a user’s profile, the social media platform will start to develop a concept called “Key Transparency” to make it easier for its users to verify the validity of the code. Update to the most recent build if you use WhatsApp on Android because these features have already been released. If you use iOS, the security features have not yet been released, although an update is anticipated soon.
Digital safety is a crucial matter for netizens across the world; platforms like Whatsapp, which enjoy a massive user base, should lead the way in terms of OTT platforms’ cyber security by inculcating the use of emerging technologies, user reporting, and transparency in the principles and also encourage other platforms to replicate their security mechanisms to keep bad actors at bay. Account Protect, Device Verification, and Automatic Security Codes will go a long way in protecting the user’s interests while simultaneously maintaining convenience, thus showing us that the future with such platforms is bright and secure.
Author : Mr. Abhishek Singh, Lead – Policy and Advocacy, CyberPeace