WhatsApp testing encryption for chat backups on Google Drive

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With its new feature of encrypted and password-protected chat backups, WhatsApp will be plugging a major data security loophole. This feature is likely to be optional for its users.

WhatsApp testing encryption for chat backups on Google Drive
WhatsApp is reportedly working on making its chat backups on Google Drive both encrypted and password protected. According to screenshots on WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is currently testing encrypted backups for chats on Google Drive, which will also be password protected.
WhatsApp chat backups have often been the weakest link in WhatsApp’s data security since, unlike the chats on the app itself, they are not encrypted, at least on Android OS. The backups were not password protected from the get-go either.
The new feature is expected to be optional for users. There will be an option for enabling or disabling encryption when looking under chat backups in the app. The user interface (UI) will also be updated to show that backups are encrypted on Google Drive and will display the ‘end-to-end encrypted’ message under the chat backup options. The UI will also show your available backup space in Google Drive.
A password will also be required in order to restore these backups to any device. Before enabling password protection, WhatsApp will ask to confirm your phone number for added security.
An official release date hasn’t been announced yet, but seeing the advanced state of the features, the new safety and protection features are expected to go live sometime soon.
The Facebook-owned instant messaging service was also reportedly testing 24-hour disappearing messages for Android and iOS devices. The feature would allow messages to ‘disappear’ after 24 hours of being sent, similar to the current disappearing messages feature which makes messages disappear seven days after being sent.
WhatsApp is also expected to soon start restricting its features for those who have not yet accepted its new privacy policy and terms of use. It is not known if the encryption and password protection for chat backups is one of the features that will be ‘limited’ for users who have not yet accepted WhatsApp’s new terms.
 

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