The facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp has more than a billion users. With the recent update in private policy, it raised some security concerns. Now, for ensuring users’ safety Whatsapp is planning a feature which is “adding an additional security layer that is biometric authentication for accessing WhatsApp through the web and desktop.”
It makes the process of linking your WhatsApp to your computer’s web and the desktop app a bit more secure by adding biometric authentication. Whenever you want to log in to your WhatsApp web or desktop you will have the option of biometric authentication. For Apple users, you can use iPhone TouchID or Face ID. And the user has to be on IOS or higher to implement the biometric authentication. Whereas for Android users any device with biometric authentication, will be able to handle it.
Whatsapp says that a biometric authentication system is intended to ensure that even if someone else gains access to your phone they won’t be able to link your account to their web browser, and they won’t be able to see any messages you send or receive.
Whatsapp about biometric authentication
Before this update, Logging into WhatsApp web is as simple as scanning a QR with your smartphone camera. The issue with this feature is even though it is quite simple. There is a potential for privacy breaches because anyone with access to your smartphone can just scan the QR code and gain access to your WhatsApp through web and desktop apps.
So, for providing users with additional security. Whatsapp came up with this additional security layer of authentication. Whatsapp informs that the authentication process, handled by the particular operating systems biometric API. And WhatsApp can’t access or see your biometric data stores on your phone.
Whatsapp states that biometric authentication is coming along with the WhatsApp new feature “visual refresh” of the WhatsApp web page, for linking and managing devices connected to your account. The company also opens doors for more updates in the upcoming future.
With the new feature, you can now choose to add in a biometric login. Whenever you want to access whatsapp, Biometric authentication login uses either a fingerprint, face ID, or iris ID as per the individual device. It works only if you have enabled biometric authentication on your device otherwise it won’t.
Present you can log in just using a QR code. Once this feature will be available, it will appear for users before you link your WhatsApp to your desktop or web version. Still, you need to Scan the QR code so it doesn’t go away. Simply, biometric authentication is the second step that the user will need to take. Same as how you can choose to use two-step of authentication on a device to use the WhatsApp mobile app nowadays.
The biometric authentication feature option is not available for everyone yet. The feature is absent on some Android phones running WhatsApp Beta 188.8.131.52. This feature will be enabled in default on Android handsets with biometric authentication support. And for iPhone devices with IOS and above for them, it can’t be turned off. In case if you want to disable this feature. You have to remove the biometric authentication methods completely from your phone.
Whatsapp addresses privacy concerns
Addressing users who are worried about their privacy issues. WhatsApp clearly states that it’s not able to access the biometric authentication information that will be stored in your device. It is not getting access to fingerprint or Face ID data. And WhatsApp ensures that it is using the same standard biometric authentication APIs that banking apps and other apps are using.
Whatsapp other plans
What app is another step forward in WhatsApp creating more feature parity between its flagship mobile apps and how you are going to use it on some other devices.
Even though WhatsApp started as a mobile messaging app. Over the years it has been adding many additional ways of using it like adding desktop support to the iOS version. And now whatsapp adds biometric authentication.
Recently Whatsapp mentioned with TechCrunch that it will be adding more features this year. For bringing the desktop and mobile experiences together as more user friendly. Still, there are some gaps in the Whatsapp web version. For example, you can’t make calls on the WhatsApp web version. As per reports, this feature started to get spotted in beta tests, last month.
Whatsapp is adding an extra layer of security for accessing WhatsApp through web and desktop app. The next time you link your WhatsApp account to your web browser or desktop you have to complete the biometric authentication process after scanning the QR code. Biometric authentication can be done through the enrolled fingerprint or face data present on your device.