Just like millions of WhatsApp users from around the world, I felt really glad to know that the messaging app has adopted end-to-end encryption for messages following in the lines of iMessage. However, both have been found to have major message storage flaw that lets deleted messages to be recovered easily either from iCloud backup or the iPhone itself.
The noted security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski asserts that even after you have cleaned up chats, archived messages or completely done away with them, the messages can easily be recovered. He adds that the only we can altogether eliminate them is by deleting the app itself.
WhatsApp and iMessages Have Major Message Storage Flaw
“The latest version of the app tested leaves forensic trace of all of your chats, even after you’ve deleted, cleared, or archived them… even if you “Clear All Chats.” In fact, the only way to get rid of them appears to be to delete the app entirely.” Jonathan Zdziarski.
Zdziarski further states that SMS database is stored in an iCloud backup. However, its copies remain on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or anywhere else you receive the iMessages.
“Forensic trace is common among any application that uses SQLite, because SQLite by default does not vacuum databases on iOS (likely in an effort to prevent wear). When a record is deleted, it is simply added to a “free list”, but free records do not get overwritten until later on when the database needs the extra storage (usually after many more records are created) […] In other apps, I’ve often seen artifacts remain in the database for months […]
Apple’s iMessage has this problem and it’s just as bad, if not worse. Your SMS.db is stored in an iCloud backup, but copies of it also exist on your iPad, your desktop, and anywhere else you receive iMessages. Deleted content also suffers the same fate.”
It’s a huge privacy issue. Both Apple and Facebook ,which owns WhatsApp, would have to fix it in order to ensure that user’s data is not stolen.
Imagine a situation where your important message, which you have already deleted thinking it’s gone forever, is taken away by someone else. Won’t you easily fall prey to the devil minds?