This isn’t the first time we are hearing about WhatsApp chats of celebs leaking on the internet and spreading like wildfire. The recent incidents of WhatsApp messages of star kids leaking have stirred the online space and how. These incidents have led users of the messaging app be worried about their own privacy. Also Read - WhatsApp Payments gets permission to double user base in India
Following the chats leak, thousands of users have taken to the microblogging site Twitter and other social media channels to share concerns related to privacy of their personal chats and conversations on the popular instant messaging platform. Some also say that they are considering moving to a “safer” messaging platform such as Signal or Telegram. Also Read - WhatsApp testing new shortcut to quickly forward stickers
What about end-to-end encryption?
Before understanding whether WhatsApp chats can be leaked or not, we must first know what end-to-end encryption really means and whether it actually works in real life. Also Read - WhatsApp allowed to double its payments service user base by NPCI: Report
In simple terms, end-to-end encryption means, no one, except the sender or receiver of the message can read WhatsApp messages. For instance, if you are chatting with your friend Meghna, no one apart from you and Meghna can read those messages. In fact, not just the chats, the instant messaging platform claimed that all video and voice calls being conducted on the app are also end-to-end encrypted.
“End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on any special settings to secure your messages,” the instant messaging platform explains in an official blog post.
How are WhatsApp chats leaking?
So, now that end-to-end encryption means no one can read or access personal chats of users, how are messages of celebs leaking? There’s a lot attached to this topic. First, we must understand that these leaked chats are a set of screenshots and not really chats leaked by WhatsApp. Second, most of these chats are leaked from devices handed over for further investigation for the ongoing drug case.
There are two ways to took at such incidents. One, chats leaked from the devices are being handed by too many people and hence circulation of controversial messages can happen. Second, chats leaked are of prominent personalities and information about them spread like wildfire.
All-in-all, if you look from WhatsApp point of view, chats/ messaging being exchanged on the platform are secure by “Signal encryption protocol”, which basically secures messages before they leave a device. This is about individual or personal chats. As for Business accounts, the security works little differently.
“WhatsApp considers chats with businesses that use the WhatsApp Business app or manage and store customer messages themselves to be end-to-end encrypted. Once the message is received, it will be subject to the business’s own privacy practices. The business may designate a number of employees, or even other vendors, to process and respond to the message,” WhatsApp explains in a blog post.
The key question that arises here is, can your WhatsApp chats get leaked?
Can your WhatsApp chats get leaked?
Well, no and yes.
Anyone’s chats or personal data can be accessed by a third party if the user of the device isn’t aware. Since such incidents of WhatsApp chats leak continue to happen every now and then, it gets even more important to secure the app with a lock. The messaging platform provides an option to screen lock the WhatsApp app for Android and also iPhone users.
Users also get to apply additional security to their WhatsApp account via ‘verify security code’ feature. Once the feature is enabled, users will be asked to enter the code every time they log in to the app. There are several other privacy and security options including – restricting access to profile photo, status, about section and more. WhatsApp recently introduced certain group settings as well which allows users to limit others from randomly adding them to groups.