In a recent announcement, Whatsapp has revealed that it will soon allow users to upload the backups of their chat history with password-protected encryption.
What’s more important, probably, is the fact that this backup feature with end-to-end encryption won’t just be supported on Google Drive running on android devices, but will also extend support for iCloud on iPhones.
Considering the fact that the encryption keys used for iCloud will be held by Apple, there remains a fear that access to user data might be provided to the law enforcement agencies if they pressure the Cupertino-giant enough.
Mark Zuckerberg said in a recent Facebook post:
“We’re adding another layer of privacy and security to WhatsApp: an end-to-end encryption option for the backups people choose to store in Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups, and getting there was a really hard technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage across operating systems.”
Here is how this new feature is described in the whitepaper:
“With the introduction of end-to-end encrypted backups, WhatsApp has created an HSM (Hardware Security Module) based Backup Key Vault to securely store per-user encryption keys for user backups in tamper-resistant storage, thus ensuring stronger security of users’ message history.”
We’ll see this new feature being rolled out to iPhone and Android somewhere in the next few weeks. Let’s hope it turns out well.