7 Things to Know About Encrypted Messages on WhatsApp


Encrypt messages on WhatsApp can protect users and maintain privacy. Photo: Reuters

JAKARTA – WhatsApp claims to have an encrypted message feature. That is, messages sent or received are protected so that others cannot read them.

Encryption, encrypted DM (direct messages), and end-to-end encryption are currently hot topics. So, here are 5 facts and explanations regarding encrypted messages on WhatsApp:

1. What is an encrypted message?

Encryption is a way of protecting user conversations. This is important considering how much personal and confidential information can be shared with friends, family or colleagues, who do not want it to be leaked or stolen.

Encryption is a way of locking data so that only those with a certain key (also known as an encryption key) can open it.

2. What is end-to-end encrypted messaging?
7 Things to Know About Encrypted Messages on WhatsApp

Not all encrypted messages are created equal. End-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the recipient can read messages, not the platform you’re using to communicate.

Basically, only the recipient and sender have the necessary keys to open and read the message, and not from the platform side.

This protects all messages from attacks, including man-in-the-middle attacks (where attackers exploit vulnerabilities to eavesdrop).

3. Message encryption is not activated immediately

Many popular messaging apps have end-to-end encryption. However, it turns out that not all applications implement end-to-end encryption by default.

That is, this feature must be “activated” manually. For example by choosing to start a private or confidential conversation. Whatsapp and Signal are examples of free apps that are end-to-end encrypted by default.

4. How encrypted messages work

To explain how it works, in WhatsApp, before the message is sent, the message is secured with a cryptographic key, and only the recipient has the key to open it.

Additionally, this key changes each time a message is sent. This process is done behind the scenes. However, you can check whether the conversation is protected by clicking on the contact’s name and selecting Encryption > Verify Security Code.

5. Does encryption only protect messages sent?

Photos, documents, voice notes, and even voice and video calls sent are ensured to be protected. Messaging apps that have end-to-end encryption by default will provide the same level of protection for sent and received messages.

6. What happens with the suggested message?

On WhatsApp, by default messages will only be stored in the phone’s memory. End-to-end encrypted backup ensures that your messages are further protected when backing them up to whichever cloud service you use.

You can choose to enable encrypted backup on WhatsApp, and your messages will be immediately protected by a 64-digit encryption key or password (which cannot be reset via the ‘forgot password’ system).

7. Is there another way to make the conversation more private?

In addition to end-to-end encryption, each messaging app offers a different set of additional privacy features. For example, you might want to make your messages unavailable forever.

With the Temporary Messages feature, you can choose how long messages remain (from one day to several months) before they are automatically deleted.

On WhatsApp, apart from the Temporary Messages feature, you can also activate an additional layer of protection by activating a number of features such as Lock Messages (which allows you to place certain messages in a locked folder), manage who can add you to Groups, and ensure visibility of your online status.


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