WhatsApp has announced its upcoming roll out of a cloud-based system for providing end-to-end encrypted chat backups for users of its app on Android and iOS, according to The Hacker News. The new feature could signal a future cryptographically secure storage feature for information such as chat messages and photos in Google Drive or Apple iCloud.
The feature brings security protections to content on WhatsApp that was missing since the company enabled end-to-end encryption on information sent between users, such as calls, personal messages, media and video chats, from as early as April 2016.
"With the introduction of end-to-end encrypted backups, WhatsApp has created a Hardware Security Module based Backup Key Vault to securely store per-user encryption keys for user backups in tamper-resistant storage, thus ensuring stronger security of users' message history," a whitepaper from the company said.
The key used in encrypting the backup is secured through a user-created password, which is stored in the Backup Key Vault. Users may also opt to provide a 64-digit encryption key instead of a password, but this would have to be manually stored since it would not be sent to the vault.