Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday that WhatsApp has created end-to-end encrypted backups and will soon begin distributing that additional layer to protect user privacy and security.
“We added another layer of privacy and security to WhatsApp: an end-to-end encryption option for archives that users store on Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp is the first global messaging service of this size, end-to-end encrypted messages and archiving, and achieving this was a very difficult technical challenge that created a new framework for storing keys and cloud storage on the Operating System as needed,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. post on his Facebook page.
WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide and more than 400 million in India. These users send more than 100 billion messages every day.
Chat Encryption in WhatsApp
Encryption is the practice of encrypting data so that it cannot be understood even by the service provider. It keeps calls private and end-to-end encryption means that only the sender and intended recipient can see the messages sent.
The main issue and archiving issue in WhatsApp chats is that they are stored by third party cloud providers like Google (Drive) or iCloud.
“Before end-to-end encrypted backups were introduced, archives stored in Apple iCloud and Google Drive were not protected from end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp.
We now offer the option to protect your archives with end-to-end encryption before they are uploaded to this cloud service,” explains WhatsApp in its white paper on the technology behind this new update.
It goes on to say, “If end-to-end encrypted backup is enabled, the client will encrypt chat messages and all message data (e.g. text, photos, videos, etc.) before saving the backup in the cloud. archived with any key generated on the user’s device. The archive encryption key is protected by a user-provided password. The password is not known by WhatsApp, the cloud partner of the user’s mobile device or third parties. “
WhatsApp are going to be releasing this as an optional feature and within the coming weeks we’ll be rolling it bent iOS and Android users.
To validate end-to-end encrypted backups WhatsApp developed new storage system for encryption keys that works very well on both Andorid and iOS devices.