WhatsApp, currently, offers end-to-end encryption for local backups. However, cloud backups are not end-to-end encrypted, yet. Zuckerberg, in a post, said “WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups.” The company says that creating encryption for cloud backups “was a really hard technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage across operating systems.”
In a follow-up statement to TechCrunch, Zuckerburg said that the feature will be available in the “coming weeks.” “Users on WhatsApp will see an option to generate a 64-digit encryption key to lock their chat backups in the cloud.” The users will be able to store the encryption key in a password manager or save it in a “backup key vault” that WhatsApp has developed.
The existing backups will be deleted when the user shifts to the end-to-end encrypted cloud backups and the “user will need to take no actions.” To be transparent about the process, and in the support of its claims that Facebook cannot see the backups, the company has published a security white paper for the new end-to-end encrypted backups with all the specifics.