Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp is roling out end-to-end encryption for both Apple iPhone and Android phone users. “While end-to-end encrypted messages you send and receive are stored on your device, many people also want a way to back up their chats in case they lose their phone. Starting today, we are making available an extra, optional layer of security to protect backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud with end-to-end encryption,” said the company in a blog post on its website.
The end-to-end encrypted will also apply to both users’ media and chat backups.
WhatsApp users can set passwords to their backup
Users can secure their end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of their choice or a 64-digit encryption key that only they know. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to read backups or access the key required to unlock it, as per the company.
“With more than 2 billion users, we are excited to give people more choices to protect their privacy. We will be rolling this feature out slowly to those with the latest version of WhatsApp,” said the company on the timeframe of the rollout
How users can access their password-protected backups
When someone wants to retrieve their backup:
* They enter their password, which is encrypted and then verified by the Backup Key Vault.
* Once the password is verified, the Backup Key Vault will send the encryption key back to the WhatsApp client.
* With the key in hand, the WhatsApp client can then decrypt the backups. Alternatively, if an account owner has chosen to use the 64-digit key alone, they will have to manually enter the key themselves to decrypt and access their backups.