Access to WhatsApp Web and Desktop has always been very simple: open the app, scan a QR code and that’s it, you can use WhatsApp on your computer. It’s a mechanism that works, but it has some pitfalls in terms of security. Now WhatsApp is looking to make this process more secure through biometric authentication.
As WhatsApp explained in a tweet posted on its official account, from today the app will start asking us to enter our fingerprint or face before linking two devices. By doing so, WhatsApp adds an extra layer of security to its application, although the user will be able to decide whether to activate it or not. Of course, the company assures that WhatsApp does not have access to face or fingerprint data.
A measure that makes sense
The desktop and web versions of WhatsApp have a small risk: they can be used to access someone else’s conversations. It’s not simple, but it is possible. If someone gains access to our mobile and we don’t have WhatsApp protected with fingerprint or facial recognition, they can log into WhatsApp Web on their computer with our WhatsApp account and see our messages without us noticing.
That is why it is important to take a look from time to time at the history of connected devices, as we can then see if there is any unrecognized device accessing our messages. As we say, doing this requires physical access to the device and for it to be unlocked. It is not easy, but it is possible.
With the implementation of this measure, WhatsApp nips this small potential security problem in the bud. By requiring biometric authentication, no one will be able to log in to WhatsApp Web / Desktop on your computer, because even if they have physical access to the end device, they cannot have access to our face or our fingerprint. It is a measure as simple as it is useful.
On the other hand, there has been much talk that WhatsApp is working on multi-device support, that is, that we can have the WhatsApp Web session open without the mobile turned on, for example. This new feature could be related to it, as it would be the method WhatsApp would use to verify that it is indeed us trying to link two devices.
WhatsApp claims that the biometric lock is starting to roll out already, so it will be a matter of time before it arrives on iOS and Android. There are no exact arrival dates, but sticking to previous implementations, it will likely take a few days to reach all smartphones. In any case, it’s always a good idea to check that we don’t have an update pending in the Google Play Store and App Store.
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