Your deleted WhatsApp chats could be easily recovered

CIOL Writers
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CIOL Your deleted WhatsApp chats could be easily recovered

WhatsApp’s end to end encryption may not be as foolproof as the company might want us to believe. The privacy concerns that were thought to have been laid to rest, according to new claims, appear unmitigated as ever.


According to the iOS researcher Jonathan Zdziarski, WhatsApp retains and stores chat logs even after someone has deleted those chats. Zdziarski explained in a blog post that WhatsApp deletes the records, but they are not erased from the database – meaning a hacker with physical access to your phone could recover and reconstruct the original messages.

These traces could also be recoverable through remote backup systems, he said. Despite the fact the data is marked as deleted by the app, it is not been overwritten and therefore is still recoverable through forensic tools, according to Zdziarski.

In April, WhatsApp switched to default end-to-end encryption through the Signal protocol. But that system only protects data in transit, preventing carriers and other intermediaries from spying on conversations as they travel across the network.


Zdziarski’s latest discoveries deal with what happens to that data after it reaches the phone, particularly when it’s stored on iCloud storage. WhatsApp messages are backed up by iCloud without hard encryption. Most notably, according to Zdziarski’s research, this means police could obtain clear records of conversations through a court order, even if the conversation had been deleted within the app.

“The core issue here is that ephemeral communication is not ephemeral on disk,” Zdziarski wrote in the post.

Zdziarski says there’s no need to panic, but it is important to be aware of your WhatsApp “footprint.” WhatsApp could easily resolve this issue in a number of ways through software development, according to the researcher, who pointed out the SQLite database can be marked in such a way that it will not be backed up.

WhatsApp guidelines state that deleted messages are permanently wiped from your phone. The messaging major hasn’t commented on Zdziarski’s claims so far.

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