WhatsApp warns Google Drive back-ups are not encrypted

WhatsApp and Google recently struck a deal to ensure chat backups on Android wouldn’t eat into user’s Google Drive precious storage. However, WhatsApp wants people to know that backing up via the cloud storage locker comes at another cost – the security of users.

In support documents, WhatsApp has warned users that media and messages backed up in Google Drive do not benefit from the chat app’s usual end-to-end encryption. That should give users pause before backing up their photos, videos and text conversations because that data could be susceptible if hackers gain control of a Google Drive account.

While WhatsApp has never said otherwise, it is now making this explicitly clear in its Google Drive support document (via ZDnet).

“Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive,” the firm says.

In the absence of this end-to-end encryption on Google Drive, users should ensure their Google accounts are protected by watertight passwords and two-factor authentication.

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It’s not just Android users whose backups are threatened by the lack of encryption. iOS users are also informed that iCloud backups are not protected by the end-to-end protection.

The new rules on Google Drive storage quotas come into play on November 12. WhatsApp says backups that haven’t been updated in more than a year will be automatically removed from Google Drive storage. The company is advising users to manually back up any data before November 12.

Beyond the lack of end-to-end encryption, the liberation from Google Drive storage is a pretty decent deal for OneDrive users. Those videos and images are heavily compressed, but over the course of time they can still take up a fair share of cloud storage space.

Will this prevent you from backing-up your WhatsApp chats? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.