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WhatsApp deleted Messages are actually not Deleted, Data found in Encryption Checks

Security concerns are most common when it comes to messaging applications and hence these concerns are no exceptions with WhatsApp as well. Previously we heard a lot of them, and now according to some new reports, it looks like the WhatsApp texts are not completely deleted even when you clear, erase or archive everything. This is an interesting information to know since it is necessary to know everything about something that everybody uses on a daily basis on millions of iOS devices.

So according to this report, if you are deleting a text, clearing a chat or maybe archiving them, don’t be under the impression that it cannot be tracked or traced again. Few experts set out to run some encryption test and they found out that the app leaves forensic traces of all of your chats. Apparently, the only way to completely get rid of these chats etc. is to delete the app entirely.

It is actually a common problem when it comes to any application that uses SQLite. The reason being, SQLite does not wipe out the databases. So what happens here is, when it is deleted it goes into a “free list”. Apple’s iMessage has this problem and it’s just as bad, if not worse. This is something that Apple has struggled with a lot previously as well.

What does it mean & should you be concerned?

  • Law enforcement can potentially issue a warrant with Apple to obtain any deleted chats, text messages from it etc.
  • Also, anyone with physical access to your computer could copy this data from an existing, unencrypted backup, or potentially decrypt it using some password breaking tools etc. There are countless opportunities like this.

Well, should you be worried? Not exactly. But this is definitely something to be aware of especially when we use these applications on a daily basis and it revolves around our personal data.

Can this be fixed?

This is an issue about which the software developers should be aware of and design the code accordingly. So more or less, it is based on the design choices of the developer. But still, there are a number of ways through which WhatsApp could fix this issue if they decide to do it in future updates maybe. Considering the fact that the company pushes updates to its application on a timely basis, this should be sorted soon. They recently released a beta version with new features like the callback and voice mail. You can also send bigger sized emojis on iOS devices. However, we still don’t have confirmation about what the developers will be doing on this issue. But we can expect something soon in the near future, so stay tuned for more info on this.

By Karthik Iyer on Monday 1st of Aug 2016


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