WhatsApp & Hiding Your IP Address During Calls – A New Development

WhatsApp is beefing up their security as they are rolling out a beta version for shielding their users IP address during calls. As demand for secured connection and privacy increases not only for businesses but also for individual transactions, more and more online services are beefing up their security measures. WhatsApp is joining the fray in increasing users' security with this upcoming feature currently in beta testing.

IP Shielding with Relay

The plan of protecting and maintaining users' privacy by hiding their IP addresses is relatively simple. Instead of the usual direct connection between users that reveals each other's IP addresses, communications on WhatsApp will pass through their server – shielding each other's IP addresses with very minimal risk to users. Simply put, communication will pass through a relay server that works as an intermediary or a shield between two users.

This type of protection is nothing new in online security. In fact, using a server as a relay for fetching data is used by some browsers. When data saving mode is enabled, the browser fetches the requested data and the end user accesses the information through the browser's relay. The relay can block irrelevant data so it could help end users save on data costs.

Protection with a Cost

Data privacy and protection in communication is always first priority for any type of online communication and using a relay is a simple and effective way of helping users prevent any type of unauthorized tracking and attacks. As long as the server is powerful enough to handle massive data requests, there should not be any problem. WhatsApp has the capability of handling these types of requests 24/7.

But that does not mean everything would go smoothly. As with all beta testing, there would be some small hiccups along the way and even if it rolls out for open use.

As with all communication that goes through a relay, reduction in quality of calls and video messages can happen. The beta version with this feature already comes with a warning about this but other types of communication such as sending pictures and direct messages should not be affected.

Even with this warning, the reduction of call and video quality is a small downside when the promise of increase in security is implemented. There's always a challenge of consciously protecting your information online and additional help from online services is a welcome addition even with a small downside.

Add-on Security

The addition of shielding users IP addresses with the use of relay is an add-on to WhatsApp's already powerful security feature: end-to-end encryption. Limiting access to messages based on the device offers privacy and security on default. The addition of IP address protection means that higher forms of attacks based on users' IP address is prevented. At face value, WhatsApp still looks like the same messaging tool but changes under the hood will beef up protection from different types of threats online.

Upcoming Feature Rollout

If you're interested in checking out this upcoming feature, WhatsApp v2.23.18.15 on Android already has the option on display in its settings. However, activating this feature is still not available but the presence of this option means WhatsApp will roll out this security feature soon. iOS users should also expect a rollout of this feature on their devices.

Better security features are coming on WhatsApp as it focuses on protecting users from IP address based attacks and exploitation. Coupled with its end-to-end encryption, better security on communication immediately after initial install should be expected. It may come with some disadvantages but it's a small inconvenience compared to the protection the app offers.

It is great news to see WhatsApp taking an extra step in protecting the privacy of users considering the fact that Meta Platforms, WhatsApp parent company has been accused in the past of laxity when it comes to user privacy.

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