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WhatsApp and DB files

WhatsApp Messenger is a free messaging and voice over IP cross-platform service owned by Facebook. It is a very popular messaging application with integration to Facebook social network.

WhatsApp application on an Android device stores message data in an encrypted database file with DB file extension, called msgstore.db.crypt12 (earlier versions of WhatsApp use crypt6, crypt7 and crypt8 file extensions). Typically, end-user is not aware of this file and WhatsApp uses it to backup message data. But recently with a growth of privacy protection effort users want to be aware of what kind of their data is stored and where.

It is important to know that DB file used to store WhatsApp messages could be relatively easy decrypted by a hacker with a temporary access to your mobile device. Also if your db.crypt12 backup files are located on PC then the hacker may also be able to decrypt it if he gets access to your mobile device to download a decryption key. Only several minutes are needed to perform an attack and download the backup file and a decryption key file.

WhatsApp uses different algorithms to encrypt the database file. Each new version of the application uses a new or modified algorithm to encrypt the database. Still for each new version of the WhatsApp a hack is quickly released to decrypt the database given the access to the encryption key and rooted device (some decryptors even don’t require root access).

That’s why if you want to prevent your WhatsApp message history being compromised you need to avoid rooting your device, and make sure it never gets to bad hands unlocked – even temporarily. Or even better use iOS devices which don’t allow access to the application data. Telegram messenger is also better choice to keep your messages secure.

Message Encryption Details

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption algorithms and its messages are decrypted only when they reach the recipient, including attachments such as multimedia or documents.

Instead of storing encryption keys on a centralized server, end-to-end encryption works by storing those keys on each user's device. When combined with TextSecure - a service that uses a unique encryption key for each device and a protocol that issues a new key for each new message - these messages cannot be intercepted by anyone sniffing on the internet.

Each version of WhatsApp improves or maintains the level of confidentiality and integrity of messages, sent and received, using high level encryption.

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