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WhatsApp backups are about to get way more secure

WhatsApp is now rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat back-ups to give users saving their conversations to the cloud a little more peace of mind.

The announcement, made by under-fire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will mean users on Android and iOS users will be able to encrypt the backups before they’re uploaded to the cloud.

“End-to-end encrypted backups for WhatsApp starting to roll out today. Proud of the team for continuing to lead on security for your private conversations,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook profile page.

WhatsApp chats are already end-to-end encrypted, meaning that, in theory, they can’t be viewed by WhatsApp or any other intermediary. The cloud back-ups will now mean they can’t be accessed by iCloud or Google Drive either.

WhatsApp says it is the first messaging service to offer these encrypted cloud backups, so Zuckerberg does have a point when he talks about leading the way.

Users will get a 64-digit encryption key, which they’ll need to access their chat history should they wish to download it. WhatsApp is also giving users the option to store the backups behind a standard password. Both of which protect the chats from prying eyes seeking to decrypt your sensitive messages.

In a companion blog post, WhatsApp writes: “While end-to-end encrypted messages you send and receive are stored on your device, many people also want a way to back up their chats in case they lose their phone. Starting today, we are making available an extra, optional layer of security to protect backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud with end-to-end encryption. No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups.”

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Facebook stable, with lengthy outages joining the damning testimony of a whistleblower who says the company puts profits over its users and the wider cause of democracy.

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