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WhatsApp Isn't Fully Deleting Its 'Deleted' Chats
By: The Verge
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WhatsApp retains and stores chat logs even after those chats have been deleted, according to a post today by iOS researcher Jonathan Zdziarski. Examining disk images taken from the most recent version of the app, Zdziarski found that the software retains and stores a forensic trace of the chat logs even after the chats have been deleted, creating a potential treasure trove of information for anyone with physical access to the device. The same data could also be recoverable through any remote backup systems in place.

In most cases, the data is marked as deleted by the app itself — but because it has not been overwritten, it is still recoverable through forensic tools. Zdziarski attributed the problem to the SQLite library used in coding the app, which does not overwrite by default.

Zdziarski’s findings deal with what happens to that data after it reaches the phone, particularly when it’s stored on the phone’s local disk drive or remote iCloud storage. WhatsApp messages are backed up by iCloud without hard encryption, so the finding means police could obtain clear records of conversations through a court order, even if the conversation had been deleted within the app.

"The core issue here is that ephemeral communication is not ephemeral on disk," Zdziarski wrote in the post.

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This article was published on The Verge. A link to the original article can be found after the post.
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