WhatsApp backups will not be encrypted on Google Drive.
The famous app, WhatsApp, has notified its users that its end-to-end encryption feature will no more be encrypted as a backup on Google’s servers.
The end-to-end encryption feature of WhatsApp backups ensures that the sender and receiver can only read the message and not even WhatsApp.
“Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive,” WhatsApp posted using a note labeled as ‘Important’ on the FAQ section of its official blog.
On August 16th, Google and WhatsApp partnered together to provide WhatsApp users free and unlimited backups storage on Google Drive. Under the new agreement, there will be no restrictions for uploading WhatsApp backups on Google Drive. Also, the backups would not be counted against the Google Drive storage space allocated to the user. It used to do in the past. Since iOS users use iCloud as the default chat backup, the new agreement is said to come into effect from November 12, 2018. Which will be for Android users.
Previously, WhatsApp did clarify that data backed up and stored on Google Drive is not encrypted.
Also, Google will automatically delete all the WhatsApp messages and media that haven’t been updated in more than a year. In order to avoid loss of any backup content, users should back-up their WhatsApp accounts manually before November 12, 2018.
Steps to backup your WhatsApp Backups
If you wish to back up your WhatsApp chats, here’s how you can do it:
- Ensure that you have Google Drive setup on your phone.
- Go to WhatsApp, then go to Menu (3 dots on right top) > Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.
- Select “Back up to Google Drive” and you will automatically see everything getting backed up to Google Drive.
Nevertheless, WhatsApp data may contain large files and could use too much internet, assure that you are connected to Wi-Fi.
Security researchers reviews
Meanwhile, Sai Krishna Kothapalli, an independent security researcher, mentioned that backing up chats using Google Drive is completely voluntary. Since WhatsApp doesn’t force its users to do so. Nevertheless, the most suitable method to store important chats is using Google Drive for backing up data. Especially in the case when a user wants to change devices.
“From a privacy perspective (completely discounting convenience) online backups are no good regardless of who the custodian is. While Google does encrypt files on the server side they also ultimately control the keys for those — which can be provided to law enforcement authorities on the basis of a warrant,” Karan Saini said.
Uninterested users can turn off automatic Google Drive backups by following these steps:
- Go to Menu (3 dots on right top) > Settings > Chats > Chat Backup >
- Select “Backup to Google Drive”, and changing the setting to ‘Never’.