WhatsApp, the popular chat service under the tutelage of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire, wants to make it easier for users to switch between mobile operative systems to keep their chat history after transitioning from one device to another.
One of the caveats for WhatsApp is that it doesn’t let its users keep their chat logs history in cross-platforms. Android users spin the issue around by involving Google Drive with some time and patience, whereas iOS users have to keep their records in an iCloud account.
It appears as though WhatsApp wants to tackle this syncing issue by rolling out a multi-device support feature that converts Apple’s iOS data to a compatible one with Android, a feature that’s currently under development and might be available sometime in the future.
Should a multiple device feature be available for WhatsApp, its users will get support for several devices at the same time. In the present dispensation, that would mean that whenever a WhatsApp user wants to log in to a device, that user will need to copy the chat logs history. An action that will require the interested party to have a Wi-Fi connection and some spare time. It’s up to the software developers to tackle an issue that involves two antagonizing operative systems that share a universal app that over two billion people use.
WhatsApp Security Issues
Despite its popularity, WhatsApp isn’t immune to security issues, for the app’s massive user base makes it a target for cybercriminals, many of which use WhatsApp Web for their deeds. While the app on mobile devices is more carefully regulated, the bulk of cybercriminals take advantage of the web version of WhatsApp to insert malware and spyware in desktops.
Another problem that WhatsApp faces are unencrypted backups. When a user sends a message on this app, that message is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that only the device of the sender and the recipient can decode it, a feature that prevents messages from being intercepted during transmission, even by the parent company. Still, that feature doesn’t imply that the messages are secure once they are decrypted on the device.
WhatsApp lets users back up their messages and media on mobile operative systems by Apple and Google, a crucial feature that allows them to recover chat relevant chat logs. Backups are not encrypted —nor in Google Drive nor iCloud—, the file contains decrypted versions of messages, creating a vulnerability that gravely undermines the ad nauseam marketing of safety of the apps end-to-end encryption.
Encryption is supposed to be a benefit, not a weakness. The capacity to prevent a third party from accessing a user’s data is crucial, and given that there are loose ends on WhatsApp’s chat logs, it gives way for companies like Facebook to access data, meaning that chat logs could be at risk. Regulators in the EU and in the US care about privacy with zeal, and will surely look carefully at the way, shape, and manner in which WhatsApp allows for cross-platform chat log support implementation, while also scrutinizing how services like Google Drive and iCloud, in charge of other companies handle those security issues.