- WhatsApp has issued a statement saying the end-to-end encryption protects chats within the app.
- WhatsApp noted that chats saved on cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud are not end-to-end encrypted.
- WhatsApp chats of Bollywood actors emerged putting the privacy and security of WhatsApp in question.
WhatsApp, the messaging service app released a statement on late Thursday night clarifying that end-to-end encrypted chats on the platform are strongly protected. WhatsApp chats of Bollywood stars have been doing rounds on the internet as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) looks to investigate the names that emerged in the alleged drug nexus. This gave rise to questions around the privacy and security of WhatsApp.
"WhatsApp protects your messages with end-to-end encryption so that only you and the person you're communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between can access it, not even WhatsApp. It's important to remember that people sign up on WhatsApp using only a phone number, and WhatsApp doesn't have access to your message content," a WhatsApp spokesperson told IANS. "WhatsApp follows guidance provided by operating system manufacturers for on-device storage and we encourage people to take advantage of all the security features provided by operating systems such as strong passwords or biometric IDs to prevent third parties from accessing content stored on device."
However, according to WhatsApp, chats saved on cloud services like Google Drive and other places are not end-to-end encrypted and can hence be accessed. WhatsApp says in its security settings that there is end-to-end encryption for all their messages within the platform.
End-to-end encryption means that the messages are visible only to the sender and the recipient, and not even to WhatsApp.
To access encrypted WhatsApp data, security and investigating agencies can take a user's phone and create a 'clone' of it on another device. This gives them access even to deleted messages with a 'mirror image' of a phone after which all data can be transferred to a separate device.
Thereafter, it is only a matter of retrieving data that agencies do by involving forensic experts. They retrieve all kinds of data like phone call records, messages, images, WhatsApp chats, as well as the data on the phone's Cloud service, like Google Drive or iCloud, including anything that has been deleted.
The investigation of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death led the NCB cloning actor Rhea Chakraborty's phone in a Prevention against Money Laundering Case (PMLA). Analysing WhatsApp chats of Rhea with other entities reflected the angle of conspiracy, according to the NCB.