Are our message data safe on WhatsApp

How can we help you?

Privacy and security are part of our DNA. For this reason we use end-to-end encryption. With end-to-end encryption, your messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, status reports and calls are protected so that they do not fall into the wrong hands.

Personal conversations

WhatsApp end-to-end encryption is used when you are talking to another person via WhatsApp Messenger. The end-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the person you are communicating with can read or hear what has been sent - and no one in between, not even WhatsApp. The reason for this is that with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a lock and only you and the recipient have the special key that is needed to unlock and read the messages. All of this happens automatically: you don't have to change any settings to keep your messages secure.

Exchange messages with companies

Every WhatsApp message is encrypted using the same Signal protocol that protects messages before they leave your device. When you send a message to a WhatsApp company account, it will be securely delivered to the destination set by the company.

WhatsApp assumes that chats with companies that use the WhatsApp Business app or take care of the management and storage of customer messages are end-to-end encrypted. However, once the message has been received, the company's individual privacy practices will apply. This can, for example, entrust a number of employees or even third-party providers with processing and answering the message.

Some companies1 can opt for WhatsApp's parent company - Facebook - to securely store messages and reply to customers. Facebook doesn't automatically use your messages for advertisements you see. However, companies are able to use received chat messages for their own marketing purposes, for example also for advertising on Facebook. You can always contact companies to learn more about their privacy practices.

Note: The encryption status of an end-to-end encrypted chat cannot be changed without making the change visible to the user. You can find more information about which chats are end-to-end encrypted in our whitepaper.

Payments

WhatsApp payments, available in select countries, allow transfers between accounts at financial institutions. The numbers of bank cards and bank accounts are stored in encrypted form and are located in a highly secure network. However, since financial institutions can only process transactions if they receive data about the payments, they are not end-to-end encrypted.

What does "Verify Security Number" mean on the Contact Info screen?

End-to-end encrypted chats have their own security number, which is used to verify that the calls and messages you send in this chat are end-to-end encrypted.

Note: Verification of the security number is optional for end-to-end encrypted chats and only exists to confirm that the calls and messages you are sending are end-to-end encrypted.

You can find this number in the form of a QR code and a 60-digit security number on the contact info screen. These codes are unique to each chat. They can be compared between people to verify that messages sent in chat are encrypted end-to-end. Security numbers are just a visual representation of the special key shared between you.

Verifying the end-to-end encryption of a chat:

  1. Open the chat.
  2. Tap the contact's name to open the contact info screen.
  3. Tap Encryptionto view the QR code and 60-digit security number.
    • Note: This function is only available for a contact in an end-to-end encrypted chat.

When you and your contact meet, one of you can scan the QR code on the other's phone, or you can compare the 60-digit security number. If you can scan the QR code and the number is the same, a green check mark will appear. Since the security numbers match, you can be sure that no one will intercept your messages or calls.

If the numbers and the QR code do not match, it is likely that you are trying to scan the QR code of another contact or phone number. If your contact recently reinstalled WhatsApp or changed devices, we recommend updating the QR code by sending the contact a new message and then trying again to scan the QR code. Learn more about notifications when your security number changes in this article.

If you and your contact don't meet, you can send them the 60-digit security number instead. Let your contact know to write down your security number as soon as they receive it. So he can compare it with the 60-digit number that appears in your contact information under "Encryption". On Android devices and iPhones, you can select the Share feature on the Verify Security Number screen to send the 60-digit security number via SMS, email, or other means.

Why does WhatsApp offer end-to-end encryption and what does that mean for people's security?

Security is an essential part of our WhatsApp service. We are aware of numerous cases in which criminal hackers illegally accessed vast amounts of private data in order to harm people using the stolen information. Since we completed the implementation of end-to-end encryption in 2016, the topic of digital security has become even more important.

WhatsApp has no way of viewing the content of messages or listening to calls that are end-to-end encrypted. The reason for this is that the end-to-end encryption and decryption of sent and received messages via WhatsApp takes place exclusively on your phone. Before the message leaves your device, it is secured with a cryptographic lock that only the recipient has the key to. In addition, the keys change with every message sent. While this process takes place in the background, you can confirm that your conversations are encrypted by checking the security number. You can find more information about this in our whitepaper.

Of course, many wonder what end-to-end encryption means for law enforcement. WhatsApp values ​​the work of law enforcement agencies to keep people safe around the world. We carefully review, verify, and respond to law enforcement requests in accordance with applicable laws and guidelines, and prioritize urgency requests. We have provided information to law enforcement agencies here about the limited information we collect and how they can make inquiries on WhatsApp.

You can find out more about your security on WhatsApp under WhatsApp Security.

1 In 2021.