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WhatsApp tests end-to-end encrypted cloud backups for Android

WhatsApp end-to-end encryption

Source: The Indian Express

WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging platforms, rather it is the default instant messaging app ever since it replaced the OG SMS. For those of you who don’t know, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook Inc. and not much has changed since this acquisition (other than end-to-end encryption) with users getting the same superior experience while using the application. People have grown used to depending on WhatsApp and it has become really difficult for people to quit using the application because of its usability across the globe. WhatsApp chats have been end-to-end encrypted by the company which means that only the sender and the receiver know what is in the text and not even WhatsApp can read your private chats. This feature is called “end-to-end encryption” and WhatsApp is currently testing out something exciting.

There is a big loophole with WhatsApp chats being end-to-end encrypted that everyone knows about now. WhatsApp only covers chats under end-to-end encryption that are available within the WhatsApp application but once you upload those chats as a backup on your cloud storage, the end-to-end encryption coverage terminates and your private chats are easily accessible to bad actors and prying eyes.

According to recent reports, WhatsApp is testing out end-to-end encryption for online cloud backups, starting with Android.

As mentioned in a report by WABtaInfo, WhatsApp has released its beta version for Android (2.21.15.5) that includes a test for end-to-end encrypted cloud backups, according to a report by The Verge. Once you are opted-in for this beta version on WhatsApp that end-to-end encrypts your WhatsApp cloud backups, the loophole is fixed and no bad actor will be able to access your personal WhatsApp chats and conversation history.

However, according to a report by Engadget, the WhatsApp test is only in the beta stage and it requires certain extra steps to ensure that your cloud backups are end-to-end encrypted. First off, users will need to create a separate password for restoring their WhatsApp chat backups. Now, in case, by mistake you lose that password, you lose your encrypted WhatsApp backup as well, there is no coming back from that loss.

Other than this, users can create a 64-digit encrypted key that will also be of ‘key’ importance if they want to decrypt your WhatsApp chats. If you lose that key, you lose your WhatsApp cloud backup along with it. So, one has to be really careful with these caveats.

Recent reports suggest that WhatsApp is slowly moving away from mobile phone dependency for one to use WhatsApp. The company’s multi-device syncing feature will allow users to access their WhatsApp without the need for a smartphone connection which is a good thing as more and more people are becoming highly dependent on WhatsApp for their everyday communication.

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