WhatsApp could be gaining an extra security option in the near future. We’ve been passed a tip which suggests that the popular messaging app could soon be updated with a six-digit passcode protection feature.
The details were spotted as part of a text translation program for WhatsApp, to convert strings from English into Dutch. Phrases to be translated include “Enter the current six-digit passcode:“, “Passcodes don’t match. Try again.“, and “Enter a recovery email address“, which are all pretty good indicators about what could be heading our way soon.
Interestingly, another line of text suggests that the use of a recovery email may be optional. An email address is usually required to ensure that customers don’t lock themselves out of their account, but one of the translation strings implies that users will have a choice about whether or not to provide a recovery email. It appears that users could completely lock themselves out of their WhatsApp account, which would be doubling punishing given that accounts are also tied to the user’s phone number. It’s also not clear at this point if the six-digit passcode feature will be optional or mandatory.
With Whatsapp already offering end-to-end encryption to protect messages from snoopers, a step to enable users to lock the app off from friends, family, or thieves who gain access to their smartphone seems like a logical next step. Unfortunately, we don’t have any official confirmation about if or when this feature will begin rolling out to WhatsApp users.
Thanks for the tip, Stan van Baarsen