Facebook’s WhatsApp is preparing a new security feature that will encrypt user chat backups in the cloud to make them accessible only by the users themselves.
While WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted, this doesn’t apply to online backups stored on Google Drive and Apple iCloud.
The new password protection feature will encrypt chat backups in the cloud, reports WABetaInfo, a service for tracking WhatsApp Beta updates. The service announced on Monday that WhatsApp is working on an encryption feature for cloud backups.
“The chat database and media will be safe from unauthorized access when using a password. The password is private and it’s not sent to WhatsApp. It will be available in a future build for iOS and Android,” WABetaInfo tweeted.
The new beta feature was spotted by users last year and now, the rumors were confirmed with screenshots.
“To prevent unauthorized access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups. This password will be required when you restore from the backup,” the screenshots say.
The user will then need to confirm their phone number and select a password with a warning saying, “WhatsApp will not be able to help recover forgotten passwords.”
The report says the chat database is already encrypted bit not the media. The algorithm, however, is reversible and it’s not end-to-end encrypted. Android backups stored locally are compatible with this feature.
The chat database and media are encrypted with a password that only the user knows.
The new feature should be available in both iOS and Android apps.
WhatsApp hasn’t made an official announcement about this feature yet.