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Report: WhatsApp began encrypting back-ups to iCloud Drive in late 2016

Facebook added another layer of protection for users of its WhatsApp encrypted mobile messaging service in late 2016, quietly introducing a new feature that encrypts messages and contacts when uploading this data to Apple's iCloud servers, according to a Forbes report earlier this week.

According to the report, WhatsApp users backing up information to the iCloud Drive now enter a texted verification sent by the messaging service, thereby generating a unique key that is used to encrypt the data uploaded to Apple's servers. A separate Tripwire report noted that Apple was already using a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption to encrypt users' information when accepting uploads and storing user data, but this feature enhances security even further.

Forbes said its reporters learned of the WhatsApp upgrade last week after hacking tool supplier Oxygen Forensics began promoting a new feature that it claims can defeat the added encryption. However, the process is rather "clunky" and works only under one highly specific scenario, Forbes added.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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