WhatsApp Web has often been used to spy on WhatsApp profiles, but now comes a novelty that prevents it.
WhatsApp announces a major change in the connection between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Web, the desktop version of the platform that you can use from computers with mouse and keyboard. An update to the WhatsApp app is being released these hours that will prevent you from connecting your profile to WhatsApp Web without biometric authentication.
The change had been in the air for some time, but until now WhatsApp had not implemented it. This is an important change and one that greatly increases privacy, especially if you use WhatsApp Web in the office or in public. Just the Web version of the platform, in fact, can be used to secretly spy on a profile so much so that, on Twitter, WhatsApp itself points out that now no one will be able to do so: "The chats will be for your eyes only". The downside, however, is that those who have an old cell phone not equipped with biometric authentication will not be able to enjoy this novelty.
WhatsApp Web: what has changed
Until now, to use WhatsApp Web was sufficient to open the main menu of the WhatsApp app on the smartphone, both Android and iOS, and tap on "WhatsApp Web". That was enough to open the camera interface and frame the QR Code that is shown when opening the Web address https://web.whatsapp.com/.
Now, however, right before framing the QR Code WhatsApp asks the user to unlock the smartphone with the biometric authentication method set on the device. That is, facial unlocking or fingerprinting. WhatsApp specifies that this specific step is handled totally by the smartphone and that the biometric data is not sent to its servers.
The importance for privacy
Before this novelty an office colleague could easily connect his computer to our WhatsApp profile. If we went away and left the phone unattended, in fact, the colleague could pick it up and do the procedure to connect our smartphone with his computer, ending up seeing our chats from his PC.
Now this is no longer the case, because biometric authentication prevents the colleague from completing the procedure, even if we haven't set up biometric unlocking of WhatsApp, a feature already available for quite some time.