‘End-to-end’ encryption has become a common term while talking about the security of any app. WhatsApp has particularly popularised the term end-to-end encryption with the tagline, “Message Privately”. WhatsApp has used end-to-end encryption to attract billions of users globally. End to end encryption is used to protect personal data such as messages from any middle man by ensuring the message only stays between the receiver and sender.
How Does End-To-End Encryption Work?
The end-to-end encryption of WhatsApp ensures that the message that is sent by the sender, stays between for whom the message is meant. No one, not even WhatsApp can read the message that is being shared between the sender and the receiver. It is because end-to-end encrypted messages come with a special key that can only be unlocked by the recipient. To provide the users with end-to-end encryption, it uses Signal Protocol which is being developed by Open Whisper System.
When a user first installs WhatsApp on their device, one public and the private key are generated and the entire encryption process takes place in the smartphone itself. The private key that is being generated stays with the user and with the help of the centralised WhatsApp service, the public key is transferred to the receiver. When a message is being sent, even before the message reaches the centralised server, the public key encrypts the message that is being sent. Even though WhatsApp messages are encrypted, WhatsApp Status are not as it can be viewed by all the people in the contact. However, the statuses that you upload, like the Attitude Status and your images, can be protected by making changes to who can see the statuses. The WhatsApp server is only used for transferring such encrypted messages and this message can only be unlocked by the receiver.
Why Does WhatsApp Offer End-To-End Encryption?
WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption and it is because security plays a vital role for the company. Digital security has become very important in the digital world and therefore, WhatsApp has started offering end-to-end encryption in 2016.
The encrypted messages that are being shared through WhatsApp cannot be read by WhatsApp. It is because the entire encryption and decryption of the messages take place only on the device. When a sender sends a message, the message is locked using a cryptographic lock and the key of the lock lies only with the recipient. To make the security more robust, WhatsApp changes the keys after every single message is sent.
End-To-End Encryption In WhatsApp Can Be Viewed
End-to-end encryption offered by WhatsApp can be verified manually. For manually verifying the encryption offered by WhatsApp, tap on a contact name present in WhatsApp for the receiver for whom you want to verify the encryption. Now, tap on “Encryption”. This will allow you to view a QR code along with a 60-digit number. To verify the messages and calls with a particular contact are verified, you can scan the code present in the sender with the receiver. Further, the 60-digit numbers can also be compared.
WhatsApp Now Offer End-To-End Encrypted Backup
WhatsApp, by default, offers end-to-end encrypted messages. However, the user can now choose whether they want the same layer of protection for their chat backup that is mostly stored either on iCloud or Google Drive. For enabling end-to-encryption of WhatsApp chat backup, go to Settings and then tap on Chats and then tap on Chat Backup and select ‘End-to-End Encrypted Backup’, then simply tap on “Turn On”. When you turn on end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp chat backup, no one will be able to access the backup of WhatsApp.
For creating a backup that is end-to-end encrypted, you will have to create a password. The encryption can be done either by creating a password or by using a 64-digit encryption key. If by accident, if you ever end up losing the password, WhatsApp will help the user to recover the backup.
How Secure Is The End-To-End Encryption Offered By WhatsApp?
Even though end-to-end encryption offered by WhatsApp is highly secure, it is not totally secure because just like any other app, even WhatsApp comes with its anomalies. These anomalies can result in data breaches. The same breach in security is visible through the Pegasus that have successfully explored the vulnerability of WhatsApp to leak important data. Such a cyber attack is possible but in no way, it means that WhatsApp is insecure. WhatsApp has always worked towards improving its security.