WhatsApp reportedly working on password-protected encrypted chat backups

WhatsApp is bringing password-protected, encrypted chat backups for iCloud and Google Drive, according to a report. The new update, which is said to be currently in the works, would allow users to keep their WhatsApp chat backups protected from unauthorised access by using a password. Right now, your chats are end-to-end encrypted on your phone and that of the people you’re talking to but once you back up the chats, this is no longer the case. This has been a concern many privacy activists have raised in the past.

WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo has reported that password-protected, encrypted cloud backups feature is in the works. It has also shared some screenshots that show how the new feature could work in the app.

Although WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted, meaning they’re only visible to the sender and recipient, the service warns that this protection doesn’t extend to online backups stored on Google Drive and iCloud. Once on these servers, the security of the backups is the responsibility of the cloud service providers, who in the past have made them accessible to law enforcement authorities with valid search warrants. Encrypting the backups with a password only you know would theoretically prevent anyone from accessing your chat history without your authorization.

These latest reports about the feature come as WhatsApp’s reputation has taken a hit from a new privacy policy, which has stoked fears that it may store more information with parent company Facebook. Although WhatsApp insists the new policy doesn’t affect the security of users’ personal messages, rival messaging services like Signal and Telegram have seen a surge in interest as users explore other options.

In addition to cloud backups, WABetaInfo tweeted that local Android backups would also be compatible with the new update. This means that you would also be able to apply password protection to the backups you’re saving locally on your Android phone. WhatsApp does not allow local backups in the case of iPhones.

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