WhatsApp offers encrypted cloud backup
WhatsApp offers encrypted cloud backup

WhatsApp said it is giving its two billion users the option to encrypt chat backups to the cloud.

The platform has taken this step in order to prevent private communications between individuals from being hacked in difficult ways by the app.

For more than a decade, Facebook's private services have included end-to-end encrypted conversations between users. However, users have no choice but to store chat backups in an unencrypted format via the cloud.

Using unencrypted WhatsApp chat backups via Google and Apple servers is a well-known method that allows law enforcement agencies around the world to gain access to suspicious people's conversations.

"WhatsApp is the first global messaging service of this size to offer end-to-end encrypted messages and backups," Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post announcing the new features.

"Coming here is a huge technical challenge," he added. This requires a new framework for central storage and cloud storage across the enterprise.

The company said it has developed a system for Android and iOS users to lock chat backups using encryption keys.

WhatsApp offers encrypted cloud backup

The platform gives users two ways to encrypt cloud backups, and this feature is optional.

Over the next few weeks, users of the platform will see an option to generate a 64-bit encryption key to lock chat backups in the cloud.

Users can save the encryption key offline or in a password manager of their choice, or create a password that supports their encryption key in a cloud-based backup key store developed by the company.

If there is no user password that the company does not know, the encryption key stored in the cloud cannot be used.

"We know that some people prefer 64-bit encryption keys while others want something they can easily remember," WhatsApp said. So we include these two options.

After creating an encrypted backup, the previous version of the backup will be deleted. This happens automatically and the user does not need any action.

Introducing this extra privacy is important and can have far-reaching effects. As the government continues to push for backdoors, end-to-end encryption remains a hot topic of debate.

Apple was reportedly forced not to encrypt iCloud backups after an FBI complaint. Although Google offers users the option to encrypt data stored in Google Drive, the company apparently did not notify the government before introducing the feature.

"People's information is very personal," WhatsApp said. As we live more and more online, we believe companies need to improve the security they provide to their users. With this feature, we give users the ability to add an extra layer of security to their backups.

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