WhatsApp started quietly testing end-to-end encryption for chat historical past backups earlier this summer time. Now, the company is making the function official: WhatsApp announced today that every one customers will have the ability to encrypt backups of their chat historical past.
While WhatsApp messages have been encrypted since 2016, the app hasn’t provided end-to-end encryption of backups, which depend on iCloud or Google Drive. But with the newest replace, customers will have the ability to opt-in to end-to-end encryption for their backups earlier than these backups hit their cloud storage service. Users can anticipate the replace “in the coming weeks,” in keeping with the company.
Once end-to-end encryption is enabled, “neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access” the backup, WhatsApp writes in a weblog publish. Backups are encrypted with a “unique, randomly generated encryption key.” Users will then have the ability to select between two choices: manually storing the 64-digit key, or setting a password, which can be utilized to entry the important thing.
While the function definitely makes backups safer, there are a couple of components to remember. The first is that opting in means there will probably be no solution to get better your backup must you lose the 64-digit encryption key (you’ll be able to reset the password should you overlook it). Next is that although WhatsApp lately introduced assist for a number of units, you’ll solely have the ability to use encrypted backups in your major machine.
It’s additionally value pointing out that end-to-end encryption doesn’t assure your chats won’t ever be utilized in a manner you may not like. This week, ProPublica revealed a lengthy story on WhatsApp’s use of human moderators who review chats which might be reported by WhatsApp customers. And earlier this year The Information reported that Facebook could also be researching AI that might sooner or later enable it to serve customers adverts primarily based on encrypted messages. While neither of those “break” the safety provided by encryption — and there are numerous excellent the explanation why folks ought to have the ability to report abusive messages — it is a good reminder that privateness is about far more than simply the presence of end-to-end encryption.
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