For a long time, WhatsApp Encryption used to be in a single layer. When the message between two individuals takes place, the encryption works very well. But in the case of Group, the addition of members, deletion of members, and also communication related problems happens in the transport layer. Therefore, in such cases, there is a possibility of back door eavesdropping. WhatsApp officially clarified that whenever such a breach happens, they get a notification. But that does not alleviate the fear. In a normal situation, nothing will happen. But in case you join a group where there are constant members being added/deleted and many times this instance of time the communication will happen in the transport layer and during these moments a hacker may get easy access.
However, this can be reduced if you try WhatsApp for business. Everything and anything can be hacked, if only through the use of social engineering but the algorithm, mode, and protocol used in WhatsApp is state-of-the-art. You’d have to be an extremely skilled professional to stand a chance. Pictures cannot be encrypted on WhatsApp so if you send something malicious, you’re bust and vulnerable too. Also, the moment your WhatsApp is backed up, all encryption is lost. But with the new update in the chat backup policy of WhatsApp, there is a ray of hope that the total encryption will finally arrive and your texts will not be vulnerable anymore. And even if your messages were encrypted and you never backup WhatsApp, WhatsApp still knows who you sent messages to.
So if you sent a WhatsApp message to a criminal’s phone number, WhatsApp (Facebook) would forever know that you have been in contact with that person forever on their servers permanent record. Somehow WhatsApp will be secure from eavesdropping by anyone intercepting the communication”, then as far as anyone knows, it is. It’s based on the well-regarded Signal protocol, though uses a proprietary implementation of it, so without access to the source code, one can never be 100% certain. One of the prior USPs of WhatsApp is its encryption and developers of the app primarily emphasizing it. The encryption policy of WhatsApp has been included for its iOS users. As per the information, WhatsApp’s integration with Google and Apple for their Google Drive and iCloud are in the course of achieving new updates on chat back encryption.
Both the cloud storage will have different encryption protection from now on. The chat backup on iCloud will have a dissimilar protocol of encryption as compared to the encryption algorithm of Google Drive. Known attacks on WhatsApp have relied on attacking the end-points, e.g. installing a backdoor in the user’s phone, but that’s a different kind of vulnerability. WhatsApp had bugs that allowed sending a malicious video file that contained spyware, that bug was fixed in the updates according to WhatsApp. Now you can decide better if you would want to use WhatsApp for your private needs. Recently we have seen WhatsApp has deployed a code in their application to protect the data of its users from hackers, thieves, and legal systems.
This end-to-end data encryption means all forms of data used in WhatsApp i.e. Chats, photos, videos, calls will make sense only on the intended recipient devices. Owing to a huge crisis over privacy, developers at WhatsApp have been working for a long time to bring a full-proof solution. A few weeks ago, WhatsApp announced that it is bringing a new update to its chat backup encryption for iOS and Android users. The feature is now available for users who own iPhone and Android based devices. WhatsApp has termed this new update in its chat backup encryption as “the final step in providing a fully end-to-end encrypted messaging experience”. The company said in a statement, “With end-to-end encrypted backups, no other messaging service at WhatsApp’s scale will provide this level of security for people’s messages – from sending and transit, to receiving and storing in the cloud,” the company said in a post.
This open-source encryption is designed with open whisper systems. When WhatsApp rolled its encryption technology to its billion user base devices, it has provided priority to the privacy and secrecy of its customer’s data. Now as they have provided end-to-end encryption to its users and only intended recipients can decrypt data, WhatsApp has cleverly shown “unable to help” cards to legal authorities. This would have certainly given confidence to a terrorist organization and bad boys to use this free-of-cost technology to launch their operations. Protecting data from hackers is great but protecting data from everyone without backdoors will do more harm to the world than good. WhatsApp’s auto backup function will work distinctly after the new update in chat backup.
As it backs up current data including Favourites, Chats, Messages, etc. at the time of performing auto back up to the application. Hence, it stores all this backed-up data to your device, either a memory stick or your device’s local memory. So, if someone, by chance, hacks into your device, and tries to extract all the data whatever is stored in it, they might get access to all other data but they won’t be able to extract WhatsApp data, as it will already be encrypted. WhatsApp’s this feature was available to Android long before, but recently they have done upgrades to Windows also. There is one more advantage of the Encryption feature is, WhatsApp itself cannot decrypt your messages or any other data which has been stored as WhatsApp backup.
So, if in case, you format or reset your device, you still can retrieve the same data from backups, but if you change the device and move data to another device, then you won’t be able to restore the data as it will already be encrypted and can be decrypted to the same device only. However, this feature has been released to state more privacy and security of your stuff for WhatsApp. WhatsApp has E2E encrypted chats and calls as well all chats are supposedly E2E. We only say supposedly because it’s closed-source so nobody can verify how they’re running things in the back. However, WhatsApp on Android has a huge issue: it doesn’t encrypt backups on Google Drive. So if you ever back up your conversations, they’re at risk. Plus, any conversation you have with a person using Android is at risk as well, unless you can persuade them to turn off backups.
The new encryption policy of WhatsApp will be troublesome for those users who are looking forward to switching their smartphones from android to iOS and vice-versa. The Android backup of WhatsApp is in a protected area of Google Drive which is not accessible to third-party software, so basically you have to restore the backup to an Android phone and then copy the data to IOS. In contrast, iMessage backups are encrypted, but to allow restoration the encryption keys are stored in the cloud and can be retrieved by anyone with access to them (including Apple). It depends where you have that data. If it’s on an iPhone, for example, it’s already encrypted. If it’s on a Windows computer (depending on the version) you can use Windows built-in encryption tools on the file (or your whole drive) or download a third-party encryption tool and do the same.
The phone generates its private key, which is not backed up. If the phone is reset, or if the user gets a new phone, the message backup has to be restored, so it can’t be encrypted. Furthermore, a spokesperson from WhatsApp has stated that “For years we’ve offered people the ability to back up their WhatsApp chats so that they can restore their WhatsApp in case they lose their phone or switch phones. We are now rolling out an option for iOS and Android users to create an end-to-end encrypted backup as an additional layer of security for those who want it. If someone chooses to back up their chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be accessible only to them, and no one will be able to unlock their backup, not even WhatsApp. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider (like apple) will be able to access their end-to-end encryption key or their end-to-end encrypted backup,” WhatsApp adds.
If you have backed your WhatsApp data with iTunes or iCloud, then it is possible. All you need to do is to find the backup you made before in iCloud or iTunes, and then restore it to your device. But now with the new update, it will be a bit complicated to do it conventionally. Restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup will replace the current data on your device. So, you may need to use some 3rd-party software if you don’t want to lose existing data. The new update will be disastrous for other third party apps, especially those apps which were used to decrypt the backup process. If you deleted the messages before they got backed up, the backup doesn’t include the deleted messages. On the contrary, if you deleted the messages after you backed them up, it will contain the deleted messages. If you deleted some WhatsApp messages without backup by accident, there is a chance to recover them.
You used to try some third-party data recovery tools like Syncios Data Recovery. But it will not be possible after the latest update in the WhatsApp chat backup policy. On the other hand, something good and worthy is always a bit troublesome at the start.