There was a time when WhatsApp had very less features. However, when it was acquired by Facebook a couple of years back, we’ve seen more and more functionality added to the app. Recently, WhatsApp made chat and media transfer possible between Samsung phones and iPhones. It is also bringing the option to hide your “last seen” status from individual contacts soon.
Now, for enhanced security, WhatsApp will soon introduce another great feature which is end-to-end encrypted backups you save on Google Drive or iCloud. Currently, all messages sent between WhatsApp users are end-to-end encrypted. However, the backups made to Google Drive aren’t secure and can be accessed by Google. To change that, Facebook announced that it would add the option to create end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) backups.
WhatsApp End-to-End Encrypted Backups Are Coming
The instant messaging platform said
users can now make sure that their bestie’s voice messages and mum’s secret recipe will be safely stored in a place only [they] can access”.
“Developing end-to-end encrypted backups was an incredible technical challenge: an entirely new framework for key and cloud storage,” the platform said.
People can already back up their WhatsApp message history via cloud-based services like Google Drive and iCloud, a separate statement from Facebook, said.
“WhatsApp does not have access to these backups, and they are secured by the individual cloud-based storage services,”
But now, if people choose to enable end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) backups once available, neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access their backup or their backup encryption key, it added.
Developing end-to-end encrypted backups was an incredible technical challenge: an entirely new framework for key and cloud storage.
With encrypted backups they’re only accessible to you, so that neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider can access or decrypt the messages.
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) September 10, 2021
Facebook has also explained how encrypted backups work. It says that it has developed an entirely new system for encryption key storage that works across both iOS and Android. Backups are encrypted with a unique, random key, and the key can either be stored manually or with a password. It is up to users if they want to store it with a password, they can access the hardware-security-module-based Backup Key Vault to retrieve their encryption key and decrypt the backup. This vault is responsible for enforcing password verification attempts and rendering the key permanently inaccessible after a number of unsuccessful attempts to access it. This prevents brute-force attacks, and WhatsApp won’t ever know the key.