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WhatsApp is making an important security upgrade to chat backups

WhatsApp
(Image credit: guteksk7 / Shutterstock)

WhatsApp will soon allow you to make password-protected encrypted backups in the cloud to keep your chats secure.

WhatsApp may have caused controversy with its recent announcement about upcoming changes to privacy policies, but one thing security-minded users have become used to is the idea of end-to-end encryption. Keeping messages secured in this way ensures that they stay private – to the extent that WhatsApp could not read chat even if it wanted to.

But there's one area where WhatsApp falls down when it comes to end-to-end encryption, and that's when backing up chats. Currently, the chat backup feature doesn't offer the protection of end-to-end encryption when backing up to iCloud or Google Drive, but that's about going to change.

While WhatsApp does currently encrypt backups of the chat database, it's the lack of end-to-end encryption that has concerned many users for some time. The algorithm used to backup chats is reversible, meaning it would be possible for a third party to access messages.

With the system that's now in development, users will be able to select their own password to encrypt cloud backups so no one other than the account holder will be able to access them. Password protected backup will be available on iOS and Android users, and users will need to provide their phone number to confirm the encryption process.

Safe and sound

The fact that WhatsApp is looking to bolster security in this way is not entirely new news – in fact we knew something of it last year. But now the ever-reliable WABetaInfo has shared some screenshot of the security feature in the iOS and Android versions of the app.

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It is not clear quite when this important security feature will be officially launched, but for many WhatsApp users it simply cannot come soon enough.

Via The Verge