Apps

Ramdev’s WhatsApp rival Kimbho is a security nightmare which lets anyone read your messages

The ‘Made In India’ app is a shameless clone of an existing messaging application


It seems like yoga guru Baba Ramdev has taken it upon himself to lead India’s digital transformation. Barely a day after partnering with BSNL for ‘Swadeshi Samriddhi’ SIM cards, Ramdev-backed Patanjali Ayurved has launched Kimbho, a ‘Made In India’ messaging app which, the company claims, will give quite some competition to WhatsApp.

Bold as that claim may be, it’s actually a pretty laughable one, considering the fact that Kimbho is a total security nightmare.

//static.killerfeatures.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/bolo_kimbho_description.jpg

A French security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson (No, not the one from Mr. Robot!) on Twitter, has revealed that Kimbho’s lax (or, pretty much non-existent) security measures allow any four-digit number (between 0001 and 9999) to be chosen as a security code, which can then be sent to any number. The security researcher also tweeted a short video demonstrating the flaw.

That’s not all! In his follow-up tweets, Elderson claimed that he was able to access the messages of all users.

Questionable security aside, there’s something else that makes it really hard to take Kimbho seriously. This isn’t a ‘Made In India’ app, it’s more like ‘Copied In India’.

Kimbho is actually a full-blown copy of an existing instant messaging app called Bolo Messenger. The description of Kimbho has been copied verbatim from Bolo Messenger’s description. Same goes for the screenshots accompanying the app description, which have been also copied directly from Bolo’s store listing.

bolo_kimbho_screenshots

But wait, there’s more! A Twitter user replying to Alderson’s tweets posted a screenshot, showing that the SMS containing Kimbho’s verification One Time Password (OTP) comes from a service number with ‘IX-BOLOAP’ as sender ID. Totally not a copy!

Well, at least Kimbho’s ‘developers’ changed the app’s name everywhere, so it’s not a total drag!

Interestingly, as of writing this article, Kimbho has been pulled from Google Play Store. Maybe the devs realized just in time that they can copy even more stuff, and a new version might be on the way soon. Guess WhatsApp should be scared, very scared!

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