WhatsApp have again increased the security of their messaging service, this time it is for iPhone user’s backing up messages to Apple’s iCloud which will now be encrypted.
End-to-end encryption for messages was added last year that prevented them from being intercepted but it was revealed recently that messages that were stored in readable form when iPhone users backed up their chats could still be accessed by hackers and spies.
The iCloud is encrypted but anyone with an Apple decryption key would be able to access the user’s history meaning that any information could be handed over law enforcement agencies or hackers.
“When a user backs up their chats through WhatsApp to iCloud, the backup files are sent encrypted,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Forbes.
It is not clear if there are plans to introduce something similar for Android.
Forbes said this particular encryption feature for WhatsApp on iPhone was actually added last year but has only come to light.
The news comes after a Russian cuber security firm claimed that its researchers were able to easily bypass WhatsApp’s encryption.
The researchers claimed WhatsApp could still hacked but only in a very specific scenario – by having access to the phone’s SIM card and the same phone number used to receive the verification code which gives access to the iCloud back up.
Making WhatsApp even more secure is likely to prove unpopular with governments who have pushed the messaging app to break encryption for security services with claims that it gave “criminals a place to hide”.
Not surprisingly, the Facebook-owned app has not revealed how the latest encryption works but security experts say that WhatsApp itself would have the ability to decrypt files.