While WhatsApp has always been big on privacy via its end-to-end encryption feature the app’s local backups and online backups have been a security loophole. Unlike the app’s chats which are end-to-end-encrypted, the chat backups are not, making them susceptible to attacks. This puts a users’ chats and media files at risk.
To solve the issue, WhatsApp has been working on a feature that will allow its Cloud backups via Google Drive and iCloud to also be end-to-end encrypted. Now, a new leak by WABetaInfo also suggests that WhatsApp could be adding end-to-end encryption to its local offline chat backups too.
Check out the tweet below.
🆕 WhatsApp is also working to bring end-to-end encrypted LOCAL backups on WhatsApp beta for Android!
They were working on E2EE backups on Google Drive, but they will extend the feature for local backups as well.
This feature will be available in a future update. pic.twitter.com/2YbulmqiUQ
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) August 3, 2021
Note that WhatsApp’s current local backups are encrypted, just not end-to-end encrypted. This means they could be vulnerable to a breach by decryption on a third-party device. The new feature will fix this and will protect conversations from hackers who could remotely gain access to locally stored WhatsApp backups.
Note that the feature is not available to public users yet and it could be a while before everyone gets the update. Meanwhile, if you are a part of WhatsApp’s beta programme, you will soon be able to try out the feature by heading into the chat backup settings, where you should see the new option, as shown in the embedded tweet above.
In the stable version, WhatsApp recently added the ability to send disappearing photos with its ‘view once’ feature. The feature is similar to the expiring media on Instagram, also a platform owned by Facebook. You can read more about the WhatsApp view once feature and how to use it here.