WhatsApp is now working on encrypting your backups in the cloud.
WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted, which means that apart from sender and receiver, nobody else can have access to the chats. Not even WhatsApp. However, the same cannot be said about the backed-up data that you store in the cloud, law enforcing authorities can order Apple or Google to share your data with them.
However, WhatsApp is now working on encrypting your backups in the cloud, which would make it harder for authorities or even hackers from gaining access to your backed-up data.
As per Wabetainfo, WhatsApp has rolled out the latest Android 22.214.171.124 beta update.
In the latest beta version, a new feature WhatsApp has reportedly been working on has been spotted. The WhatsApp features tracker reveals that WhatsApp has rolled out the possibility to encrypt your chat backups on Android for beta. Enabling the feature would encrypt your chat backups consisting of your chat history and media from unauthorised access.
As per the screenshot shared by Wabetainfo, this is an opt-in feature. You will have to find the option on the Settings menu to enable the backup encryption. To protect your encrypted backups, you will have to first create a password and use it when restoring your backups. Notably, the password is extremely crucial to encrypt your backup, if you forget your password your encrypted backup will not get restored. The password will not be shared with WhatsApp or its parent company Facebook or the cloud companies Google and Apple.
Wabetainfo also reveals that users can create a 64-digit encryption key instead of a password to restore their chat backup.
The report says
“It’s always needed to insert the password when you restore a backup, otherwise you won’t be able to restore your chat history. This password is private and it’s not shared with WhatsApp, Facebook, Google or Apple. End-to-end encrypted backups also support an encryption key that can be used to restore your password. It can only contain numeric digits and lowercase letters between ‘a’ and ‘f’. If you lose this key, WhatsApp cannot help you to recover it,”.
So whether you decide to use a password or an encryption key, you will have to keep it safe. If you lose your encryption key, you will not be able to restore chats from encrypted backup without this key. Not even WhatsApp can help you restore data without this key.
WhatsApp is rolling out the encrypted back-ups functionality for Android beta users. If you are a beta tester, you will have to update your app to the latest version of the Android beta.