Updated: March 9, 2021 1:14:43 pm
WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature that will enable users to password-protect and encrypt their cloud chat backups. Previously, only chats were end-to-end encrypted on the Facebook-owned platform. Chat backups are not end-to-end encrypted or password protected.
The feature was spotted on Monday by WABetaInfo. The screenshots posted reveal how the chat backup encryption will work. The text in the screenshot says, “To prevent unauthorised access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups. This password will be required when you restore from the backup.”
Users need to enter a password that is at least eight characters long. The screenshots also say that “WhatsApp will not be able to recover forgotten passwords”. So, if you do decide to encrypt your chats and media backup when the feature rolls out, make sure you remember the password as WhatsApp will not let you reset your password like you usually do on your emails and other app ids.
As previously announced, @WhatsApp is working on cloud backups encryption.
The chat database and media will be safe from unauthorized access when using a password. The password is private and it’s not sent to WhatsApp.
It will be available in a future build for iOS and Android. pic.twitter.com/Lp06PaECBX
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) March 8, 2021
WhatsApp move to add more security to chat backups is definitely interesting and could pose further battles with law enforcement agencies across the world, including in India. According to India’s new intermediary rules, messaging apps could be required to find the originator of a message if required by the law. For end-to-end encrypted apps such as WhatsApp this could pose more problems, given it does not keep a track record of who sends a message to whom.
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