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As of late, there has been an issue where WhatsApp messages have been found to still exist in the device even if users said to have deleted them, which means that your personal data are exposed to risk of being accessed by hackers.

Digital forensic scientist and security expert Jonathan Zdziarski found that more than a million user chat transcripts have remained active even when they were deleted by users. This means that, if you delete records from the chat timeline of your WhatsApp, they will still be active in its database. Thus, hackers, who will be able to access your phone, might be able to recover your deleted messages.

This issue was discovered by Zdziarski discovered when he examined his disk images on an iPhone using the latest release of WhatsApp. While he noticed that the mobile-based messenger showed data as “deleted”, he also discovered new chat data does not actually overwrite the deleted data track, enabling third-parties to recover the data with dependable forensic software. He said that this is caused by the use of SQLite library in the messenger app.

Though WhatsApp is using an encryption feature that restricts third-party sources to access chat messages, this is not much of a concern for normal users. Basically, when authoritative agencies request for the transcripts, the given data will have deleted data.

Withal, Zdziarski assured users not to panic, but he suggested the general public to be aware of the app’s footprint in the background. One solution to eliminating the problem is to enable the PRAGMA secure/delete feature before you delete your messages, which will automatically overwrite content on the messages you deleted. As an alternative, you can also use encrypted CoreData or raw files to store your data.

For more important information on WhatsApp security, visit this page.