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Encrypted chat backups could make WhatsApp a lot more secure

You'll need a password to access or restore your WhatsApp backups.
By
March 8, 2021
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TL;DR
  • WhatsApp is reportedly working on an encrypted chat backup feature.
  • This will allow users to lock chats stowed on cloud services behind passwords.

WhatsApp messages stored on the cloud are set to get a little more secure. According to feature leaker WABetaInfo, the chat service is working on password-protecting its online chat backups on Android and iOS.

The feature will allow users to lock their online chat databases stored on Google Drive or iCloud — including any media stored — behind a password. It will also prompt users for the password when restoring their backup to a new device.

WABetaInfo also shared images of the feature in progress. Users will need to provide their country of residence and a phone number before they enable encryption. Passwords are required to be at least eight characters in length but don’t require special characters or numbers.

Interestingly, WhatsApp already features end-to-end encryption between users in a conversation, but that security doesn’t extend to older chats stored on Google or Apple’s servers.

Despite the upcoming change to its privacy terms, WhatsApp’s newer features have also focused more on user security. Last week, WABetaInfo revealed that self-destructing images could be hitting the platform soon. But its rivals have also been on the offensive, as more users ditch the platform. Telegram recently introduced an easy way to import WhatsApp’s chat history, too.

It’s unclear when WhatsApp’s encrypted chat backups feature will be available.