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New Whatsapp extension is trying to make web chats safer

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Whatsapp’s parent company Meta has released a new browser extension called Code Verify in partnership with Cloudflare, hoping to improve Whatsapp Web’s security. The extension verifies Whatsapp Web’s contents and ensures they haven’t been tampered with, making it difficult for potential attackers to compromise the end-to-end encryption when using the web app. 

Ever since Whatsapp launched its multi-device beta last year, the number of users using Whastapp on devices other than their smartphones has gone up drastically, presenting new security issues for the platform to manage.

The extension isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It’s simply comparing the hash of a code running in your browser with one held in Cloudflare. The real value of the extension is in automating the process, letting just about anyone use it regardless of technical knowledge. 

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Whatsapp’s security green light

Once the comparison is complete, the browser extension uses a traffic light-like system to inform the user whether they’ve been compromised or not. Green means everything is good; orange indicates that you might need to refresh your page or another extension obstructing Code Verify’s functionality; finally, red means there’s a problem.

Whatsapp’s help page claims they’ll be helping users resolve the problems, if any, found by Code Verify. Meta also added that the extension can’t read or access your messages and that no data from your browser is sent to Cloudflare.

New Whatsapp extension is trying to make web chats safer
This is how Code Verify works. | Source: Meta

Additionally, the extension’s source code has also been made open-source and publicly available on GitHub, letting other websites use its security features as well. 

The extension is available on Chrome, meaning other Chromium-based browsers like Microsoft’s Edge will be able to use it as well. A Firefox version is also coming soon. While there was no mention of a Safari version, the GitHub page says that it’ll be launching sometime in the future as well. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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