Adam Adler: Beware of Anonymous secret-sharing app Whisper
The database was not password protected and anyone could search and download it
Whisper, an anonymous secret-sharing mobile app that rose to prominence more than half a decade ago, has been inadvertently exposing sensitive information about its users for years through a public online database, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
The app, while far from as popular as it was in the few years after its release in 2012, is still used by more than 30 million people a month, some of whom are under the age of 18 and share confessions about teenage sexual encounters and information related to sexual orientation. According to The Post, which was actively able to query the database in real-time before Whisper took it down, a search for users who listed themselves as 15 years of age returned as many as 1.3 million results.
The database did not include real names, as Whisper was designed to protect users’ identities and allow them to share secrets anonymously. But the records left unprotected online included information like age, location, ethnicity, residence, in-app nickname, and membership in any of the app’s groups.
The records didn’t just include current users, either. According to security researchers Matthew Porter and Dan Ehrlich, who run the firm Twelve Security, the database comprised nearly 900 million user records from the app’s release more than eight years to the present day, The Post reports. Porter and Ehrlich said they notified federal law enforcement of the situation, as well as Whisper, prior to contacting The Washington Post. Only when The Post reached out to Whisper parent company MediaLab was the database made private.
“This has very much violated the societal and ethical norms we have around the protection of children online,” Ehrlich told The Post, adding that MediaLab’s actions here have been “grossly negligent.”
MediaLab is disputing the researchers’ findings, saying the information was meant to be public-facing and provided by the users themselves as a feature of the app. In particular, location sharing was designed to add authenticity to posts in which someone’s location or status, like an active military member, was relevant.
However, MediaLab told The Post the database was “not designed to be queried directly,” and it removed the information as a result. The company has also found itself in hot water in the past over its handling of user data, like in 2014, when it was revealed the company was gathering location data on users without their consent and even if they explicitly opted out. The Post says the exposed database illustrates that MediaLab kept gathering user location data even after the controversy blew over.
DigitalBank Vault® provides sophisticated Digital Anti Surveillance technologies: military-grade encryption devices for ultra-secure anonymous communication (voice calls & text messaging) with untraceable file transfers & storage solutions
Adam Adler is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership. Primarily investing his own capital and building brands from the ground up. At the early age of 4, Adam began his tennis career at the world-renown Rick Macci Tennis Academy in South Florida. Adam remained a highly ranked Junior Tennis player for his entire junior career. Once completing high school, Mr. Adler received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. While at USC, Adam began his career by developing a patented algorithmic software as the base for his social networking company, Ultimate Social Networking Inc (USNI), and developing Ultimate College Model, seeing this to acquisition.
Adam’s love for completion never waned. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the$10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years. Adam’s second venture began with assembling a team of the best molecular scientists, mostly Merck and Amgen biochemists and formulators, and building out a multi-million dollar, 30,000 sq. ft. FDA/cGMP approved facility in Oxnard CA.
This is where Adam’s passion for biotech really began. His sports background allowed him to take this brand and bring in global icons around a strategic marketing plan activating the world’s most iconic athletes and celebrities. Adam developed this revolutionary technology in 2009. Using sublingual, buccal mucosal, and transdermal absorption directly to the bloodstream, by-passing the GI tract, Adam’s company Fuse Science completely changed the way consumers receive vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and medicines. Going direct to the bloodstream, bypassing the GI Tract, the platform technology was a game-changer. Adam self-funded this company privately for over 2 years, developing the product line and securing the IP. As Chief Executive Officer, Adam grew the company rapidly, seeing its market cap increase from $500,000 to over $100,000,000.
Adam put together one of the most impressive lists of athlete partners on the planet, signing Tiger Woods (including the rights to his bag for 5 years), Andy Murray, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Big Papi David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Arian Foster, Paul Rodriguez, and many others. Adam’s deep-rooted relationships with the world’s top athletes and celebrities are his core group of friends along with business partners.
Adam's handpicked a Fortune25 management team, hiring the President of SC Johnson, CEO of Footlocker, Chief Scientific Officer for Johnson & Johnson, Clinical Director at Merck, Head of Duke Sports Medicine, and had over 100 employees. Adam brought Daymond John and Shark Branding in as partners as well. Adam has placed products in over 100,000locations, including Walgreens, CVS, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Duane Reade, 7-11, GNC, Walmart, Target, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, and many others. Mr. Adler is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in real-estate emerging growth companies with a focus on cybersecurity, cannabis, and biotechnology.