WhatsApp backups are unsafe



If a government agency forced the company to provide a user's information, Google could eventually open the doors for those copies

The end-to-end encryption technology of WhatsApp implemented in 2016 makes it possible that all communication that has been established via its platform is only deciphered by the sender and receiver.

This means that third parties can not access and understand the sent information, whether it is an image, a text or a voice note. Even WhatsApp reports that calls or video calls are protected against the access of other interested parties. All this, but it only works as long as the communication does not leave WhatsApp.

When a backup is made, all that information is copied to Google Drive before it is encrypted without an additional layer of security that goes beyond that of Google on their servers.

Google does not encrypt that copy of the calls. Security is then reduced to the standard security of Google user accounts, but without encryption keys that only make it understandable for sender and receiver.

Although those discussions are about WhatsApp, although those responsible for the Facebook company's servers wanted to facilitate their access, no one could decipher them without the corresponding security key that only the interlocutors have. In Google, however, it depends on the policy of transferring private data from the company Alphabet.

If a government agency forces the company to provide user information, Google can eventually open the doors to the backups stored in their cloud service.

In the most recent case, India WhatsApp pressured to reveal the origin of certain messages. With the current cryptographic solution from WhatsApp this is impossible, but if Google would give a similar pressure on their servers, the result would be very different.

Backup copies of WhatsApp calls are optional features. Only when this option is activated will the calls be copied to the Google servers for later transfer to new devices. This problem also affects only users of WhatsApp for Android.

Apple users, whose backup copies were created in the iCloud service, have the standard encryption of this account. In this case, even the FBI has received Apple's refusal to access protected data on Apple's servers.

As WhatsApp notes on its own web page, in the usual demand space (FAQ), "Important: the multimedia files and messages that you save are not protected by the end-to-end encryption of WhatsApp while they are in Google Drive. "

Last week, WhatsApp announced an agreement with Google that found that the space that these backup copies of chat service calls occupy does not count within the 15 GB that Google Drive offers to all its users for free.


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