A few months earlier, WhatsApp launched a couple of updates with the end-to-end encryption feature, leaving quite a few of us puzzled. There were allegations that this was done just because the app maker wanted to keep its dominion over Telegram, since the latter offered a much more secure way of communication.
Ever since WhatsApp was bought by Facebook, techies were quite worried about privacy because we know how well Facebook handles it. The creation of the separate ‘Facebook Messenger’ app was another reason for this. Most of us are unaware that even the location of the messages sent on the messenger app can be tracked with ease.
But latest in the news is the new update of WhatsApp, which leaves us all confused. Jonathan Zdziarski, who conducts researches on iPhone apps just found that the latest version of WhatsApp contains ‘forensic traces’ of chats even after they are deleted. This means that anyone, including the police or other investigation agencies, can easily hack your phone physically and trace the messages you sent on WhatsApp, even if you had deleted them earlier. Zdziarski also mentioned that these forensic traces can also be recovered if you use a remote backup to store your WhatsApp data. Say, for example, Google Drive.
“The WhatsApp chat database gets copied over from the iPhone during a backup, which means it will show up in your iCloud backup and in a desktop backup. Fortunately, desktop backups can be encrypted by enabling the ‘Encrypt Backups’ option in iTunes. Unfortunately, iCloud backups do not honor this encryption, leaving your WhatsApp database subject to law enforcement warrants.”, the iPhone app researcher said.
So if the FBI or the CBI in India wants to know what message you sent to your girlfriend/boyfriend in the middle of the night, they could issue a warrant and ask Apple to recover deleted chat logs. However, Zdriaski is concerned because he feels that deleted messages can be easily recovered from iPhones and Apple users using iCloud are more vulnerable (We do not have to explain The Fappening, do we?).
What made us more curious is the fact that the next WhatsApp update is forced. As usual, WhatsApp forces its updates, but this one has been pretty quick. There is no proper research claim for this phenomenon on Android apps, but we are afraid that Android users’ privacy might be at greater risk.
Not fair, Zuckerberg. Not fair at all.