Friday, December 1, 2023

WhatsApp New Privacy Feature Let Users Hide Location During Calls

WhatsApp has begun to roll out the ‘Protect IP Address in Calls’ feature, which conceals your IP address during calls.

Upon using this feature, all your calls will be relayed through WhatsApp’s servers, protecting your IP address and preventing other callers from figuring out your geographical location.

These features reduce the impact of real-world attacks while respecting and enhancing user privacy.

‘Silence Unknown Callers’ is another privacy feature WhatsApp announced in June 2023. Once activated, calls from unknown numbers stop ringing on your phone.

This feature protects users from unknown contact, cyberattacks, and spyware by reducing the attack surface and external data processing.

Protect IP Address During Calls

Peer-to-peer and relay-based connections are the two most popular ways of connecting call participants.

Peer-to-peer connections are present in most calling products used by users today. Faster data transfers and higher call quality are made possible by this direct connection, but it also implies that for all data packets to be delivered to the right device, participants must be aware of each other’s IP addresses.

Both callers may see each other’s IP addresses in a one-to-one conversation. IP addresses may contain information that some of our most privacy-conscious users are aware of, such as a wide geographical area or internet provider.

Diagram of a relay serverDescription automatically generated
Peer-to-peer and via a relay connection

In response to this concern, WhatsApp released the “Protect IP Address During Calls” feature that lets you hide your IP address during calls.

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“We introduced a new feature on WhatsApp that allows you to protect your IP address during calls,” WhatsApp said.

Protect IP address

“With this feature enabled, all your calls will be relayed through WhatsApp’s servers, ensuring that other parties in the call cannot see your IP address and subsequently deduce your general geographical location.”

This new feature adds another degree of protection and privacy. WhatsApp doesn’t have the ability to listen in on your calls because, as usual, all your calls are encrypted end-to-end. This includes calls that are relayed through its servers.

How to Activate it?

To access this setting:

  • Tap Settings, then Privacy.
  • Tap Advanced.
  • Turn Protect IP address in calls on or off.

This year, WhatsApp developed and released “Silence Unknown Callers” and “Protect IP Address in Calls” as part of our continuous, all-encompassing efforts to keep users safe.  In addition to numerous other safeguards, these additional security features help to keep users safe on WhatsApp.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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