WhatsApp adds biometric security to link web/desktop apps

Bill Mount

To help boost your messaging security when using the desktop and web application, WhatsApp is planning on adding biometric security when linking the companion apps on desktop or laptop. WhatsApp added biometric locking security to the mobile versions of the most popular third-party messaging app quite some time ago, but […]

To help boost your messaging security when using the desktop and web application, WhatsApp is planning on adding biometric security when linking the companion apps on desktop or laptop.

WhatsApp added biometric locking security to the mobile versions of the most popular third-party messaging app quite some time ago, but this is a first for the companion application — sometimes known as WhatsApp Web.

The firm has said that from today, you will be able to add a fingerprint/face scan on Android or FaceID on iOS device that will lock the linking process between your smartphone and WhatsApp Web — or the desktop application. It appears as though this new feature will not simply “lock” WhatsApp Web unless you log out and then attempt to log back in.

At present, the linking process simply involves scanning a QR code with no security process involved. Once this is done, it will remain logged in unless you specify otherwise. Obviously, there are numerous privacy issues if your machine is accessible by multiple users. There is also the risk of someone simply scanning a QR code without your knowledge and having access to your entire chat history.

whatsapp web biometric

So WhatsApp Web’s new biometric authentication lock is not quite the same as the on-device app lock, but it’s another safety net for those worried about third-party access. When attempting to log in to a new browser/app, you will have to open the mobile app and scan your face or fingerprint before you are able to scan a QR code, which links your device to a PC or laptop.

It’s worth noting that this biometric authentication feature for WhatsApp Web will be opt-in, meaning it is not enabled as default. You will have to head to your device Settings section to ensure that it has been toggled. For an extra layer of security, we would suggest locking WhatsApp on your Android device using your biometric data, as this does not appear to be a complete failsafe.

According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp Web’s biometric locking feature is rolling out from today and should be available over the coming weeks as it reaches more users. We have yet to see the option on our own devices at the present time.

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