If you thought that deleting or clearing up your chats means your messages have been completely deleted from both your device and Whatsapp’s data base, you are very, very WRONG.
According to digital forensics and security expert Jonathan Zdziarski, Whatsapp, who has more than 1 billion active users, might not be completing deleting messages when users clear chats.
So yes, all your dirty messages, wicked gossip and secret confessions of love for your hot coworker who’s in a relationship with someone else are still very much floating around somewhere.
But before you descend into a blubbering ball of worry, keep reading…
Though the app is really big on encryption and privacy, Zdzidiarski wrote on his blog that the latest version of Whatsapp, leaves forensic traces of the app, even after they have been deleted or cleared. But it appears you can get rid of everything when you delete the app entirely.
Zdziarski says this is not an intentional ploy for Whatsapp to retain messages of users on its servers but these messages can be recovered.
“The record itself is not being purged or erased from the database, leaving a forensic artefact that can be recovered and reconstructed back into its original form.”
I’m sure you’re confused now and probably pulling your hair out wondering what the hell this all means.
Basically, it means when you delete your chats, it is deleted on your device but not on the server because your deleted messages will leave digital footprints, which in turn means the law enforcement could potentially obtain deleted chats after issuing a warrant to Whatsapp. It also means people with physical access to either your phone or computer could hack into your deleted chats, if they are tech savvy enough.
It also basically means if you get up to no good, you basically should NOT talk about it on Whatsapp. Snapchat however, remains safe. So go forth and misbehave on that.
Written by Doyinsola Olaniyan
(Find out what other social media platforms are doing here.)