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WhatsApp adds option of encrypted message backups

With the change, backups of WhatsApp messages in Google Drive or iCloud will be encrypted and only accessible by the user.

A smartphone in a person's hands

Locked down: WhatsApp is bringing on end-to-end encryption.

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WhatsApp users will soon have the option of protecting backups of their messages with end-to-end encryption.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his Facebook page that WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014, has finished building the encrypted backups and will soon begin rolling the option out to its users. He says the addition was the final step in completing the end-to-end encryption experience and gives What's App users a level of security and privacy unequaled by any other messaging service.

Currently, WhatsApp messages are encrypted when they travel back and forth between users, making them scrambled and useless to anyone else if intercepted. But the same can't be said for message backups stored in a cloud service. They could be accessed, for example, by law enforcement officials with a search warrant.

But with the change, WhatsApp says that backups of messages stored in Google Drive or iCloud will also be encrypted and only accessible by the user. No one else will be able to unlock and access the backups, not even WhatsApp, Apple or Google.

WhatsApp says the feature, which will be an option, will be rolled out in the coming weeks for both Android and iOS devices.