Wednesday, 07 December 2022

WhatsApp rolls out a new feature of end-to-end encryption for chat backup

WhatsApp rolls out a new feature of end-to-end encryption for chat backup

WhatsApp has announced a significant privacy update, where it will now add end-to-end encryption to chat backup as well.

On app All calls and messages are already end-to-end encrypted means no third-party apps, includes WhatsApp, can access them. But users rely on backups to preserve the chats and restoring them when they switch devices. So far, chat backups were unencrypted and vulnerable to being read by others or hackers.

WhatsApp says it will be adding the support for the feature in the upcoming weeks as an extra layer of safety earlier.

The company explains.

“If someone chooses to backup the chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be access only to them, and no one will able to unlock or access the backup, not even WhatsApp can access,”

But backup service providers, be it Apple or Google, will access the end-to-end encryption key or the end-to-end encrypted backups.

For Apple users, the only option for chat backup in iCloud, while Android users typically depend on Drive by Google.

As per Facebook, this is a “really big privacy advancement” consider the scale of a 2 billion users base, who send over 100 billion daily messages. WhatsApp said it believes “that this will give our users a relevant advancement in the safety of the personal message.”

The end-to-end will be released as optional features to Android and iOS users in the upcoming week.

WhatsApp rolls out a new feature of end to end encryption for chat backup 1pixabay image

Read More : Seven new features are coming soon on Whatsapp

The feature will not be turned on by default in the app. WhatsApp users will have to create security passwords or depend on a 64-digit encryption key to access their encrypted chats. If the user forgets the password, WhatsApp cant help them to recover the accounts.

WhatsApp also released a white paper explaining how this feature will work. The backup is encrypting with a user-provided password, which remains unknown to WhatsApp, the user’s mobile device cloud partners, or any third party.

In addition, an encryption key is storing in an (HSM) Hardware Security Module Backup Key Vault, which allows the user to recover the key in the event the device is stolen or lost and regain access to the chats and account. Hardware Security Module in most phones is “responsible for enforcing password verification attempts and rendering the key permanently inaccessible after a certain number of unsuccessful attempts to access it.”

Facebook says, “these security measures provide protection against brute force attempts to retrieve the key.” If users choose the 64-digit encryption key instead of a password, they will have to make sure that they remember this encryption key themselves or store it manually somewhere. In this case, the key is not sending to the HSM Backup Key Vault.