Here’s how Kik Messenger for Windows Phone can violate your privacy

We’ve been waiting for Kik to finally deliver a much-needed and much sought after update to its Windows Phone app for years. In addition to not supporting the company’s Kik Cards and updated features like native video — therefore punishing tens of millions of Windows Phone users for simply choosing the third most popular mobile platform in the world — Kik has also made no indication that it will concede and let its users choose the platform of their choice.

But something else has started to bother me about Kik’s lack of support for Windows beyond the lack of new features and Kik Cards that are unfairly given to iOS and Android users. Here’s the gist: an overlooked issue with Kik for Windows Phone allows your privacy to be violated very easily. The scary part is, all that is needed is your phone number.

Yeah, you read that correctly. A phone number. That means your friend, family member, or even ex could potentially dig into your private contacts list without you even being aware of it.

Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Open Kik for Windows Phone
  • Step 2: Tap Privacy
  • Step 3: Tap Address Book Matching
  • Step 4: Confirm with Yes

Kik Messenger, Kik app, Kik hacks

After doing these 4 steps, a screen comes up that prompts you to “Please enter your phone number.”

  • Step 5: Enter any phone number of your choosing and tap ok at the bottom of the screen. Finally, tap Ok once the success has been confirmed. This step may have to be completed a couple of times with the same number.

Once you’ve done all this, the friends of whomever’s phone number you entered in step 5 above will get a message on the Kik app that Kik has “found a fellow Kikster in your address book” at which point they can (and may) contact you.

While it still requires the contact to message you, it goes without saying that this is pretty eerie and does have the potential to be harmful. It’s also something we should not expect from a company that appears to take user privacy seriously. Isn’t part of maintaining user privacy keeping all of your apps up to date with the latest security enhancements?

Hopefully Kik’s attitude toward Windows Phone users will change for the better and not only can we get an app that works, but users can also look forward to better privacy protection. Otherwise it might be worth looking into one of many additional options available in the crowded messaging market.

Kik has not yet responded to requests for comment on this issue or its future plans for Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile.

  • Kyle

    What’s Kik?

    Sorry, but as a Android user, I prefer using something like a secure messaging app for my chats. Plus Kik is mostly teens or creepy older people.

    • Jeff

      Lol not all of them, but I don’t like how kik treats it users like they don’t care. WhatsApp is what I’m using from now on.

  • JulioAnkada

    Whoa it does work. And it’s been like this for three years and no one has mentioned it.

  • Jeff

    Microsoft needs to manage apps like this and pull them. I’ll just get all my friends on WhatsApp. Now there’s an app that doesn’t lag lazily or play platform favorite like kik.

    • MHDRem

      you should be aware, don’t depend on microsoft to protect you… to stop this, simply don’t allow accessing your address book.
      And once you are using WhatsApp that means you already shared your phone number (i.e ID details) and address book to them.

      So what’s the difference between KiK and WhatsApp… its the same

  • Kevin Hodges

    Wow, that does indeed have the potential to be harmful. If you’re concerned about privacy, you’re probably better off using Threema, anyway.

    • MHDRem

      don’t allow accessing your address book

  • Whichever app you are using, it must be secure. When it comes to corporate communication, its better to use enterprise communication apps for secure and confidential stuff.

    • TedKHran

      So true.

  • MHDRem

    i never provide my phone number to any application… because providing your phone number means providing your ID details… So, nice try

    • TedKHran

      Well you might not, but some people do. In this case, if someone has, someone else can put their phone number into Kik and essentially gain access to their contacts by making their contacts think they know the person (“we’ve found a fellow kikster…”)

      No matter how you look at it, this is an oversight of Kik and one of many reasons why Kik needs to release an update to its Windows Phone application.

      Also, even with Kik for iOS and Android, if you tap on “find friends on Kik,” the app automatically connects your phone number to your Kik account and searches your address book. Many people don’t realize this when they do it, and this article describes how someone can access that information via the Windows Phone app.

      • MHDRem

        You are right, I don’t even use applications like whatsapp and line and so on because they all require phone number. While actually not some, But majority of people do.
        That’s really bad to access contacts of someone who doesn’t know about it, while I still didn’t get how they access contacts of a number who is not using the application