WhatsApp recently admitted that user backups on Google Drive will not be end-to-end encrypted. Here’s what this means for WhatsApp users on iOS.
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WhatsApp Google Drive backups lack end-to-end encryption
Facebook recently teamed up with Google to allow users to store unlimited backups on its servers. This new feature is due to be rolled out on November 12.
Beginning in November, you will be able to freely make backup copies of existing chats or conversations. However, saving backups on the cloud does not seem like the best idea, for more reasons than one.
WhatsApp recently included a new message in its app that reads –
Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive.
To be more precise, this suggests that data backed up in Google Drive will not have any kind of encryption, not even the standard end-to-end encryption.
Lack of encryption may expose sensitive user data
The “average user” need not worry about this, but it’s important to stay alert no matter what.
Google Drive encrypts all backup files but it also stores encryption keys, instead of passing them to the sender and receiver – as in the case of WhatsApp.
As for WhatsApp, its messages pass through WhatsApp servers but are unreadable thanks to end-to-end encryption. Further, they are stored on-device with file encryption algorithm.
The problem posed by this, as noted by security experts, is that law enforcement authorities can easily access the encryption keys.
In this case, Google will have to send the encryption data to the authorities, effectively exposing sensitive user information.
How iCloud encryption stacks up against that of WhatsApp
The absence of encryption only affects WhatsApp users who use the Android operating system. iOS already lets you back up your WhatsApp to iCloud, which uses the standard encryption protocol of the service.
Therefore, saving your data using Apple’s in-house backup solution is a much safer alternative. End-to-end encryption will still elude you but at least your data will be in safe hands.