The mysterious death of Sushant Singh Rajput has kicked off debates on drugs, nepotism, and whatnot. The recent drug probe, which has summoned many celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, and others, based on extracted WhatsApp chats, has raised concerns among the people.
The leaked WhatsApp chats have made people question WhatsApp’s security and its claim of end-to-end encryption. If WhatsApp chats are encrypted, then how are government agencies like NCB and CBI able to extract these chats?
WhatsApp’s End-To-End Encryption
WhatsApp is used by over two million users from more than 180 countries around the world. Being one of the widely used apps that connect people, doubts about privacy have raised fear among people.
WhatsApp says that only you and the receiver can read the messages you send. No one in between can access them, not even WhatsApp itself.
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Each message you send has its unique lock and key, only you and the receiver have that unique key to open the messages and read them. As per WhatsApp, this encryption is automatic and can not be turned off manually.
“For added protection, every message you send has a unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically. No need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages”- WhatsApp.
Although even after encrypting the messages, WhatsApp indeed stores information in the form of metadata. Metadata is very little data stored in the app’s server that can be your device configuration, mobile number, logins, profile photo, etc.
How Is Government Accessing These Chats?
The messages you send are only stored on the app’s server until they are delivered. So, all the chat data is stored in the form of chat backup in your Google Drive or iCloud. This data stored in cloud services is not properly encrypted and can be used by anyone who can access them.
Agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) use complex software mechanisms to clone mobile data onto a different phone. Cloning is used to transfer data from a suspect’s phone to a different phone without using the phone that is being cloned.
This can be done using an app. Although mobile cloning or imaging is illegal for the general public, government agencies can freely use these services.
So, in a nutshell, anyone who has access to your Google Drive or iCloud can access your chats. One way to protect your chats is to turn off cloud backups. Use two-factor authentication on as many platforms as possible to add a layer of security to your personal information.
Image Sources: Google Images
Sources: ABP Live, Indian Express, Wired + More
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