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WhatsApp is a bit more secure: cloud backups can now be encrypted and that’s how they work

We knew that WhatsApp was working on end-to-end encryption of cloud backups since July, and it has taken a while, but it is finally available now. As confirmed by Facebook and WhatsApp in two official blogs, E2E encryption has reached backups.

The operation is relatively simple. By making a backup in the cloud we can configure a password of our choice or a 64-digit encryption key that only we will know. In the words of WhatsApp, “no one, not even WhatsApp or your backup provider, will be able to read your backups or have access to the key to unlock them.”

More security for backups, worth the redundancy

Whatsapp2
Whatsapp2

One of the keys to WhatsApp is in its end-to-end encryption. All messages that we send through the platform are encrypted and saved on the device, although can also be saved in the cloud so that if we lose the mobile or change it for a new one, we can recover them.

The messages are encrypted, but cloud backups, until now, weren’t, so they were less secure. With this new function we can apply the same security layer of the messages to the backups that we upload to Google Drive or iCloud, depending on whether we use Android or an iPhone. For enable encryption you just have to do the following:

  • We go to “Settings” or “Configuration”.
  • Then to “Chats”> “Backup”> “End-to-end encrypted backup”.
  • Click on “Continue” and create the key.
  • Click on “Done” and wait for WhatsApp to prepare the backup.

When making the copy, we will have the option of protecting it with a password of our choice or a 64-digit encryption key that only we will know. This password is not set in stone, so we can change it as long as we remember the previous one.

However, it is best not to forget the passwords, since if we lose the chats and forget the password we will not be able to restore the backup. Remember that we and only we are the ones who know the password, so WhatsApp will not be able to reset the password or restore the backup for us.

We will have five attempts to unlock the backup. If we fail, we will have to wait to try again

Finally, it is worth making a note about iOS. If we have enabled iCloud backups for the entire iPhone, an encrypted version of the chat history will also be saved in iCloud. These are not protected end-to-end. To ensure that only the end-to-end encrypted copy will be saved, you must disable iCloud backups on the device.

More information | WhatsApp