UK plans dramatic ‘publicity attack’ against encryption

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UK steps up fight against encryption
It will use children for dramatic anti-encryption stunts.
Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

The U.K. will spend taxpayer money on a dramatic “publicity attack” against end-to-end encryption, according to a new report. The country apparently hopes to sway public opinion before taking further steps to crack down on the security feature.

A major focus of the campaign will be child safety. M&C Saatchi, the agency hired to run the marketing blitz, reportedly will use child actors to carry out emotive stunts that suggest encryption is being used by predators to conceal their activities.

WhatsApp is adding contact photos to notifications on iPhone

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WhatsApp contact photos in iPhone notifications
The feature is already in testing.
Image: WABetaInfo/Cult of Mac

A future WhatsApp update will bring contact photos to your notifications on iPhone. The feature, which requires iOS 15 or later, is already being tested among beta users in version 2.22.1.1 of the app.

This is just one of many improvements WhatsApp has started working on for its iPhone app. Others include revamped contact pages, and a Community feature that gives admins more control over their groups.

WhatsApp said to be developing new Catalyst app for iPad and Mac

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WhatsApp Catalyst app for iPad
It still doesn't have a release date yet.
Photo: WABetaInfo

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new app that will work on both iPad and Mac. It’s thought to take advantage of Apple’s Catalyst platform, which makes it easier for developers to build universal applications.

The popular messaging service is already available on macOS, but this would be the first native WhatsApp client for iPad. WhatsApp has already started rolling out improved multi-device support that is less reliant on a smartphone.

WhatsApp rolls out multi-device support to all iPhone users

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WhatsApp multi-device beta
Activate the beta today.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp’s handy multi-device feature is now rolling out to all users on Android and iPhone, making it easier to access your messages on other devices. The upgrade finally makes WhatsApp a little less reliant on your smartphone.

Sadly, multi-device support still does not allow you to use WhatsApp on two different smartphones — like you can with rival messaging services.

WhatsApp rolls out encrypted chat backups on iPhone

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WhatsApp encrypted chat backup
Ensuring only you have access to your chat data.
Image: WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s encrypted backups features is now rolling out on iPhone. Users can create a password to prevent unauthorized access to their chat data, while still uploading it to iCloud or Google Drive for their convenience.

The feature ensures that your WhatsApp chats are protected, even if the backup file itself somehow makes it into the wrong hands.

Facebook’s 6-hour outage is the result of one small slip-up

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Facebook outage
Oops.
Photo: Sofitel/Flickr/Cult of Mac

“A faulty configuration change.” That’s all it takes to bring three of the world’s biggest social platforms to their knees for more than six hours, according to an apology issued by Facebook after Monday’s disastrous outage.

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp became unavailable worldwide between approximately 9:15 a.m. PDT and 3:30 p.m. PDT on October 4. Facebook said it has no reason to believe user data was compromised during this time.

WhatsApp’s promise of end-to-end encryption may be a complete lie

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WhatsApp encryption message
WhatsApp says no one — not even WhatsApp — can read your messages.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp promises to protect every one of its 2 billion users with end-to-end encryption that ensures their messages cannot be seen by anyone outside of the original conversation. But does it live up to that promise?

A new report alleges that the Facebook-owned messaging platform uses artificial intelligence and more than 1,000 contract workers to examine “millions of pieces of users’ content” using “special Facebook software.”

That’s despite Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg telling the U.S. Senate in 2018 that “we don’t see any of the content in WhatsApp.”

WhatsApp patches security hole that could expose sensitive user data

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Facebook messaging apps
Keep your app up to date to stay safe.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp recently patched a serious security vulnerability that could expose sensitive user data. Security researchers discovered the hole, which could be exploited by opening an attachment that contained a malicious image file.

More recent versions of WhatsApp now check the integrity of image that has been edited with filters to keep users safe.