WhatsApp Still Working on Password-Protected Encrypted iCloud Backups

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WhatsApp is working on a way to secure users’ chat backups in iCloud using password-protected encryption, according to a new report from forthcoming-feature specialist WABetaInfo.

Whatsapp Feature


The Facebook-owned chat platform began early work on the security feature back in March 2020. Currently, WhatsApp on iPhone lets users back up their chat history to ‌iCloud‌, but messages and media that users back up are not protected by WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌iCloud‌.

Apple holds the encryption keys to ‌iCloud‌, and does provide backed-up data to authorities when lawfully requested, as outlined in its semiannual Transparency Reports. The new WhatsApp feature, should it see the light of day, would resolve that security hole by allowing users to encrypt and password-protect their chat history before uploading it to Apple’s cloud-based platform.

In screenshots posted by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp describes the password-protection like so:

“To prevent unauthorized access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups. This password will be required when you restore from the backup.”

The user is then asked to confirm their phone number and select a password of at least eight characters in length. Another screenshot forewarns users that “WhatsApp will not be able to help recover forgotten passwords.”

It’s unclear when the security feature will go live, but after the recent exodus from WhatsApp prompted by the service’s poorly explained privacy policy update, sooner would be better than later.

Rival encrypted messaging services Telegram and Signal have both experienced a surge in signups following the controversy, which led WhatsApp to delay the privacy policy update until May while it attempts to deal with the fallout and clarify to users that the changes won’t affect the privacy of their conversations.

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