WhatsApp introduced a new security feature for WhatsApp Web and desktop. The company added facial and fingerprint unlocking functions when linking devices to prevent unauthorized access.
Now, users must verify their identity through the mobile phone’s biometric methods such as facial recognition or fingerprint before they can choose to open a new instance of WhatsApp on a desktop/laptop computer. Before making this change, we took it directly to the QR code scanner, which allows WhatsApp to run through a browser/client.
This feature is now available for the Android and iOS versions of the messaging platform. WhatsApp also clarified that the identity verification is done on the device and cannot access your face or fingerprint data.
- WhatsApp has added new security features to its mobile application.
- Users now need to perform biometric authentication before running a new instance of WhatsApp on a desktop/browser.
- The authentication happens on-device, hence, WhatsApp does not have access to your fingerprint/face data.
Today we’re starting to roll out a new security feature for WhatsApp Web and Desktop: face and fingerprint unlock when linking devices.
WhatsApp does not see your face or fingerprint data.
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 28, 2021
How to log in to WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Desktop?
- Open WhatsApp on Android or iPhone and go to “More options” or “Settings”.
- Tap WhatsApp Web/Desktop and link the device.
- If your Android device has biometric authentication, follow the instructions on the screen. On iPhone, use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock.
- After obtaining the biometric authorization, you can continue to scan the QR code to log in to WhatsApp Web / Desktop.
WhatsApp said that the new biometric feature allows users to further protect their chats by adding an extra layer of security.
In theory, someone who has access to your phone can secretly add an unknown desktop/browser client to the list of authorized devices on their device, thereby running a hidden instance of WhatsApp on their device. However, some older mobile phones that are not equipped with any biometric authentication are still vulnerable to the aforementioned vulnerabilities.
However, a key feature of WhatsApp that has not yet entered the desktop client is the ability to make audio and video calls. This feature has many connections in the beta channel of the application, and it is not clear why it has not been widely promoted.
Competitors like Telegram have allowed users to use their desktop clients for audio and video calls for quite some time. Considering the recent proliferation of signals and telegrams, WhatsApp will well keep its platform in line with its objectively more feature-rich competitors in terms of specifications.