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WhatsApp is making an important security upgrade to chat backups

(Image credit: guteksk7 / Shutterstock)

WhatsApp will soon allow you to make password-protected encrypted backups in the cloud to keep your chats secure.

WhatsApp may have caused controversy with its recent announcement about upcoming changes to privacy policies, but one thing security-minded users have become used to is the idea of end-to-end encryption. Keeping messages secured in this way ensures that they stay private – to the extent that WhatsApp could not read chat even if it wanted to.

But there's one area where WhatsApp falls down when it comes to end-to-end encryption, and that's when backing up chats. Currently, the chat backup feature doesn't offer the protection of end-to-end encryption when backing up to iCloud or Google Drive, but that's about going to change.

While WhatsApp does currently encrypt backups of the chat database, it's the lack of end-to-end encryption that has concerned many users for some time. The algorithm used to backup chats is reversible, meaning it would be possible for a third party to access messages.

With the system that's now in development, users will be able to select their own password to encrypt cloud backups so no one other than the account holder will be able to access them. Password protected backup will be available on iOS and Android users, and users will need to provide their phone number to confirm the encryption process.

Safe and sound

The fact that WhatsApp is looking to bolster security in this way is not entirely new news – in fact we knew something of it last year. But now the ever-reliable WABetaInfo has shared some screenshot of the security feature in the iOS and Android versions of the app.

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It is not clear quite when this important security feature will be officially launched, but for many WhatsApp users it simply cannot come soon enough.

Via The Verge

Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, life moved online and remains fuelled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazine since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, Sofia continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, sharing new discoveries is a major passion.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy.