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Stress Testing is a type of software testing that verifies stability & reliability of software application. The goal of Stress testing is measuring software on its robustness and error handling capabilities under extremely heavy load conditions and ensuring that software doesn’t crash under crunch situations. It even tests beyond normal operating points and evaluates how software works under extreme conditions.
In Software Engineering, Stress Testing is also known as Endurance Testing. Under Stress Testing, AUT is be stressed for a short period of time to know its withstanding capacity. A most prominent use of stress testing is to determine the limit, at which the system or software or hardware breaks. It also checks whether the system demonstrates effective error management under extreme conditions.
The application under testing will be stressed when 5GB data is copied from the website and pasted in notepad. Notepad is under stress and gives ‘Not Responded’ error message.
Need for Stress Testing
Consider the following real-time examples where we can discover the usage of Stress Testing-
During festival time, an online shopping site may witness a spike in traffic, or when it announces a sale.
When a blog is mentioned in a leading newspaper, it experiences a sudden surge in traffic.
It is imperative to perform Stress Testing to accommodate such abnormal traffic spikes. Failure to accommodate this sudden traffic may result in loss of revenue and repute.
Stress testing is also extremely valuable for the following reasons:
To check whether the system works under abnormal conditions.
Displaying appropriate error message when the system is under stress.
System failure under extreme conditions could result in enormous revenue loss
It is better to be prepared for extreme conditions by executing Stress Testing.Goals of Stress Testing
The goal of stress testing is to analyze the behavior of the system after a failure. For stress testing to be successful, a system should display an appropriate error message while it is under extreme conditions.
To conduct Stress Testing, sometimes, massive data sets may be used which may get lost during Stress Testing. Testers should not lose this security-related data while doing stress testing.
The main purpose of stress testing is to make sure that the system recovers after failure which is called as recoverability.Load Testing Vs Stress Testing
Load Testing Stress Testing
Load Testing is to test the system behavior under normal workload conditions, and it is just testing or simulating with the actual workload Stress testing is to test the system behavior under extreme conditions and is carried out till the system failure.
Load testing does not break the system stress testing tries to break the system by testing with overwhelming data or resources.Types of Stress Testing:
Following are the types of stress testing and are explained as follows:Distributed Stress Testing:
In distributed client-server systems, testing is done across all clients from the server. The role of stress server is to distribute a set of stress tests to all stress clients and track on the status of the client. After the client contacts the server, the server adds the name of the client and starts sending data for testing.
Meanwhile, client machines send signal or heartbeat that it is connected with the server. If the server does not receive any signals from the client machine, it needs to be investigated further for debugging. From the figure, a server can connect with the 2 clients (Client1 and Client2), but it cannot send or receive a signal from Client 3 & 4.
Night run is the best option to run these stress testing scenarios. Large server farms need a more efficient method for determining which computers have had stress failures that need to be investigated.Application Stress Testing:
This testing concentrate on finding defects related to data locking and blocking, network issues and performance bottlenecks in an application.Transactional Stress Testing:
It does stress testing on one or more transactions between two or more applications. It is used for fine-tuning & optimizing the system.Systemic Stress Testing:
This is integrated stress testing which can be tested across multiple systems running on the same server. It is used to find defects where one application data blocks another application.Exploratory Stress Testing:
This is one of the types of stress testing which is used to test the system with unusual parameters or conditions that are unlikely to occur in a real scenario. It is used to find defects in unexpected scenarios like
A large number of users logged at the same time
If a virus scanner started in all machines simultaneously
If Database has gone offline when it is accessed from a website,
When a large volume of data is inserted to the database simultaneouslyHow to do Stress Testing?
Stress Testing process can be done in 5 major steps:
Step 1) Planning the Stress Test: Here you gather the system data, analyze the system, define the stress test goals
Step 2) Create Automation Scripts: In this phase, you create the Stress testing automation scripts, generate the test data for the stress scenarios.
Step 3) Script Execution: In this stage, you run the Stress testing automation scripts and store the stress results.
Step 4) Results Analysis: In this stage, you analyze the Stress Test results and identify bottlenecks.
Step 5) Tweaking and Optimization: In this stage, you fine-tune the system, change configurations, optimize the code with goal meet the desired benchmark.
Lastly, you again run the entire cycle to determine that the tweaks have produced the desired results. For example, it’s not unusual to have to 3 to 4 cycles of the Stress Testing process to achieve the performance goalsTools recommended for Stress Testing
LoadRunner from HP is a widely-used Load Testing tool. Load Test Results shaped by Loadrunner are considered as a benchmark.
Jmeter is an Open Source testing tool. It is a pure Java application for stress and Performance Testing. Jmeter is intended to cover types of tests like load, functional, stress, etc. It needs JDK 5 or higher to function.Stress Tester
This tool provides extensive analysis of the web application performance, provides results in graphical format, and it is extremely easy to use. No high-level scripting is required and gives a good return on investment.Neo load
This is a popular tool available in the market to test the web and Mobile applications. This tool can simulate thousands of users in order to evaluate the application performance under load and analyze the response times. It also supports Cloud-integrated – performance, load and stress testing. It is easy to use, cost-effective and provides good scalability.Metrics for Stress Testing
Metrics help in evaluating a System’s performance and generally studied at the end of Stress Test. Commonly used metrics are –
Measuring Scalability & Performance
Pages per Second: Measures how many pages have been requested / Second
Throughput: Basic Metric – Response data size/Second
Rounds: Number of times test scenarios have been planned Versus Number of times a client has executed
Hit time: Average time to retrieve an image or a page
Time to the first byte: Time is taken to return the first byte of data or information
Page Time: Time is taken to retrieve all the information in a page
Failed Connections: Number of failed connections refused by the client (Weak Signal)
Failed Rounds: Number of rounds it gets failed
Failed Hits: Number of failed attempts done by the system (Broken links or unseen images)Conclusion
Stress testing’s objective is to check the system under extreme conditions. It monitors system resources such as Memory, processor, network etc., and checks the ability of the system to recover back to normal status. It checks whether the system displays appropriate error messages while under stress.
Example of Stress Testing
E-commerce website announces a festival sale
News website at the time of some major events
Education Board’s result website
Social networking sites or blogs, apps, etc
You're reading What Is Stress Testing In Software Testing?
What is Non-Functional Testing?
Non-Functional Testing is defined as a type of Software testing to check non-functional aspects (performance, usability, reliability, etc) of a software application. It is designed to test the readiness of a system as per nonfunctional parameters which are never addressed by functional testing.
An excellent example of non-functional test would be to check how many people can simultaneously login into a software.
Non-functional testing is equally important as functional testing and affects client satisfaction.Objectives of Non-functional testing
Non-functional testing should increase usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability of the product.
Helps to reduce production risk and cost associated with non-functional aspects of the product.
Optimize the way product is installed, setup, executes, managed and monitored.
Collect and produce measurements, and metrics for internal research and development.
Improve and enhance knowledge of the product behavior and technologies in use.Characteristics of Non-functional testing
Non-functional testing should be measurable, so there is no place for subjective characterization like good, better, best, etc.
Exact numbers are unlikely to be known at the start of the requirement process
Important to prioritize the requirements
Ensure that quality attributes are identified correctly in Software Engineering.
Non-functional testing Parameters1) Security:
The parameter defines how a system is safeguarded against deliberate and sudden attacks from internal and external sources. This is tested via Security Testing.2) Reliability:
The extent to which any software system continuously performs the specified functions without failure. This is tested by Reliability Testing3) Survivability:
The parameter checks that the software system continues to function and recovers itself in case of system failure. This is checked by Recovery Testing4) Availability:
The parameter determines the degree to which user can depend on the system during its operation. This is checked by Stability Testing.5) Usability:
The ease with which the user can learn, operate, prepare inputs and outputs through interaction with a system. This is checked by Usability Testing6) Scalability: 7) Interoperability:
This non-functional parameter checks a software system interfaces with other software systems. This is checked by Interoperability Testing8) Efficiency:
The extent to which any software system can handles capacity, quantity and response time.9) Flexibility:
The term refers to the ease with which the application can work in different hardware and software configurations. Like minimum RAM, CPU requirements.10) Portability:
The flexibility of software to transfer from its current hardware or software environment.11) Reusability:
It refers to a portion of the software system that can be converted for use in another application.Type of Software Testing
In general, there are three testing types
Non – Functional
Under these types of testing, you have multiple TESTING Level’s, but usually, people call them as Testing Types. You may find some difference in the above classification in different books and reference materials.
The above list is not the complete as there are more than 100 Types of Testing and counting. No need to worry, you will pick them up as you age in the testing industry. Also, note that not all testing types apply to all projects but depend on the nature & scope of the project. More on this in a later tutorial.
Non Functional Testing Types
Following are the most common Types of Non Functional Testing :
Disaster Recovery Testing
Example Test Cases Non-Functional Testing
Following are examples of Non-Functional Testing
Test Case #
Application load time should not be more than 5 secs up to 1000 users accessing it simultaneously
Software should be installable on all versions of Windows and Mac
All web images should have alt tags
Dynamic Testing is a software testing method used to test the dynamic behaviour of software code. The main purpose of dynamic testing is to test software behaviour with dynamic variables or variables which are not constant and finding weak areas in software runtime environment. The code must be executed in order to test the dynamic behavior.
We all know that Testing is verification and validation, and it takes 2 Vs to make testing complete. Out of the 2 Vs, Verification is called a Static testing and the other “V”, Validation is known as Dynamic testing.
Let’s understand How to do Dynamic Testing with an example:
Suppose we are testing a Login Page where we have two fields say “Username” and “Password” and the Username is restricted to Alphanumeric.
When the user enters Username as “Guru99”, the system accepts the same. Where as when the user enters as Guru99@123 then the application throws an error message. This result shows that the code is acting dynamically based on the user input.
Dynamic testing is when you are working with the actual system by providing an input and comparing the actual behavior of the application to the expected behavior. In other words, working with the system with the intent of finding errors.
So based on the above statements we can say or conclude that dynamic testing is a process of validating software applications as an end user under different environments to build the right software.
What does dynamic testing do?
The main aim of the Dynamic tests is to ensure that software works properly during and after the installation of the software ensuring a stable application without any major flaws( this statement is made because no software is error free, testing only can show presence of defects and not absence)
The main purpose of the dynamic test is to ensure consistency to the software; lets discuss this with an example.
In a Banking Application, we find different screens like My Accounts Section, Funds Transfer, Bill Pay, etc.. All these screens contain amount field which accepts some characters.
Let’s say My Accounts field displays amount as 25,000 and Funds Transfer as $25,000 and Bill pay screen as $25000 though the amount is the same, the way amount is displayed is not the same hence making the software nonconsistent.
Consistency is not only limited to the functionality it also refers to different standards like performance, usability, compatibity etc, hence it becomes very important to perform Dynamic Testing.Types of Dynamic Testing
Dynamic Testing is classified into two categories
White Box Testing
Black Box Testing
The below pictorial representation gives us an idea about types of Dynamic Testing, Levels of Testing, etc.
Let us discuss briefly each type of testing and it’s intended purpose
White Box Testing – White Box Testing is a software testing method in which the internal structure/ design is known to the tester. The main aim of White Box testing is to check on how System is performing based on the code. It is mainly performed by the Developers or White Box Testers who has knowledge on the programming.
Black Box Testing – Black Box Testing is a method of testing in which the internal structure/ code/design is NOT known to the tester. The main aim of this testing to verify the functionality of the system under test and this type of testing requires to execute the complete test suite and is mainly performed by the Testers, and there is no need of any programming knowledge.
The Black Box Testing is again classified into two types.
Functional testing is performed to verify that all the features developed are according to the functional specifications, and it is performed by executing the functional test cases written by the QA team, in functional testing phase, system is tested by providing input, verifying the output and comparing the actual results with the expected results.
There are different Levels of Functional Testing out of which the most important are
Unit Testing – Generally Unit is a small piece of code which is testable, Unit Testing is performed at individual unit of software and is performed by developers
Integration Testing – Integration Testing is the testing which is performed after Unit Testing and is performed by combining all the individual units which are testable and is performed either by developers or testers
System Testing – System Testing is a performed to ensure whether the system performs as per the requirements and is generally performed when the complete system is ready, it is performed by testers when the Build or code is released to QA team
Acceptance Testing – Acceptance testing is performed to verify whether the system has met the business requirements and is ready to use or ready for deployment and is generally performed by the end users.
Non- Functional Testing: Non-Functional testing is a testing technique which does not focus on functional aspects and mainly concentrates on the nonfunctional attributes of the system such as memory leaks, performance or robustness of the system. Non-Functional testing is performed at all test levels.
There are many Non-Functional Testing Techniques out of which the most important are
Performance Testing – Performance Testing is performed to check whether the response time of the system is normal as per the requirements under the desired network load.
Recovery Testing – Recovery testing is a method to verify on how well a system is able to recover from crashes and hardware failures.
Compatibility Testing – Compatibility testing is performed to verify how the system behaves across different environments.
Security testing – Security testing is performed to verify the robustness of the application, i.e to ensure that only the authorizes users/roles are accessing the system
Usability testing – Usability testing is a method to verify the usability of the system by the end users to verify on how comfortable the users are with the system.
Dynamic Testing Techniques in STLC consists of different tasks like Requirements Analysis for the tests, Test Planning, Test case design and implementation, Test environment setup, Test case execution, Bug reporting and finally Test closure. All the tasks in dynamic testing techniques are dependent on the completion of the previous task in the testing process.
In STLC, we can say that actual Dynamic Testing Process starts from Test Case Design, let’s discuss each activity in details.
Before getting into the process lets discuss the strategy that needs to be followed for Dynamic Testing.
Test Strategy should mainly focus on the resources available and the timeframe. Based on these factors, the objective of the testing, the scope of testing, phases or cycles of testing, type of environment, assumptions or challenges that might be faced, risks, etc. has to be documented.
Once the strategy is defined and is accepted by the management then the actual process test case design starts
What is Test design and Implementation
In this phase we identify the,
Features to be tested
Derive the Test Conditions
Derive the coverage Items
Derive the Test Cases
Test Environment Setup
We have to ensure that Testing Environment should always be similar to the Production environment, in this phase we have to install the build and manage the test machines.
During this phase, test cases are actually executed.
Bug report captured
Based on the Execution if the Expected and Actual Results are not same then the Test case has to be marked as Fail and a Bug should be logged.Advantages of Dynamic Testing
Dynamic Testing can reveal the uncovered defects that are considered to be too difficult or complicated and which cannot be covered through static Analysis
In Dynamic Testing, we execute the software, end to end, ensuring error free software which in turn increases the quality of a product and project.
Dynamic Testing becomes an essential Tool for detecting any security Threats
Dynamic Testing is Time Consuming because it executes the application/software or code which requires huge amount of Resources
Dynamic Testing increases the cost of project/product because it does not start early in the software lifecycle and hence any issues fixed in later stages can result in an increase of cost.
In Software Engineering, Verification and Validation are two measures used to check that the software product meets the requirements specifications. Static testing involves verification whereas dynamic testing involves validation. Together they help to deliver a cost effective Quality Software.
According to the American Psychological Association, about twenty thousand new psychological tests are developed annually. Still, with numerous similar tools available, psychologists must clearly understand the proposition and reason for Testing in any situation. The testing proposition differs from the cerebral propositions of personality intelligence, and exploration shows that a psychologist makes about twelve assumptions in the testing process. The hypotheticals aim to create cerebral tests, establish their theoretical frame, and determine how the interpreted result will be employed in a given setting.What is Testing or Assessment?
Psychological tests aid in identifying mental problems in a standardized, reliable, and valid manner. A diagnosis can be made using a variety of tests. Psychological evaluation is gathering information about people and applying it to make key predictions and conclusions about their cognition and personality. Psychological exams are used to examine psychological qualities. A psychological exam is simply an objective and standardized evaluation of a sample of behavior. Psychological tests are similar to other scientific tests in that observations are performed on a limited but carefully chosen sample of an individual’s behavior. In this regard, the psychologist works similarly to the biochemist who analyses a patient’s blood.
Psychological tests have a wide range of applications and are utilized in various settings, including therapeutic, counseling, industrial, and organizational settings and forensic settings. It can be used to diagnose psychiatric illnesses in a therapeutic setting, and Beck’s depression inventory, for example, can aid in diagnosing depression.
It may be utilized in counseling to make career selections and understand one’s aptitude and interests. In this context, tests such as the Differential Aptitude Test, Career Preference Record, and Vocational Interest Inventory can be employed. Psychological examinations may also be utilized in industrial and organizational settings for employee selection and to analyze stress-related difficulties, among other things.
In this configuration, job stress scales, organizational citizenship behavior, job satisfaction scales, and so on can be employed. Psychological tests can also be used in forensic psychology to determine an individual’s psychological condition. Thus, psychological tests may be used to assess a variety of psychological entities such as intellect, personality, creativity, interest, aptitude, attitude values, and so on. Psychological tests also assess internet addiction, resilience, mental health, psychological well-being, perceived parental behavior, family environment, and so on.Why are the Assumptions about Psychological Testing?
Tests aiming to reflect the literacy aptitudes of academy children differ much further than generally is honored. Still, error in assessing similar literacy aptitude inheres much further in the users of the tests than in the tests themselves. Hypotheticals abecedarian to similar assessment, or indeed Testing, are considered. It is particularly important that the assessor, or tester, constantly be sensitive to the relationship between the cerebral demands of test particulars or tests and the literacy demands defying the child.
Indeed, tests that generally are grossly or crudely used can yield psycho-educationally meaningful information if their results are differentially perceived in terms of the light they throw on the cerebral operations abecedarian to literacy, “process,” as varied with that thrown on the results of the functioning of similar operations, “product.”Assumptions of Psychological Testing and Assessment given by APA
Assumption 1 − Psychological traits and states exist. The trait has been defined as “any distinguishable, fairly enduring way in which one existent varies from another.” States distinguish one person from another but are fairly less continuing. Cerebral particularity covers a wide range of possible characteristics.
Construct is an informed, scientific conception developed or constructed to describe or explain behavior.
Overt conduct refers to an observable action or the product of an observable action, including test- or assessment-related responses.
The delineations of traits and countries we use also relate to how one existence varies.
Assumption 2 − Psychological traits and states can be quantified and measured. Having admitted that cerebral traits and countries do live, the specific traits and countries to be measured and quantified need to be precisely defined.
Assumption 3 − Various approaches to measuring aspects of the same thing can be useful. Decades of court challenges to various tests and testing programs have acclimatized test inventors and druggies to the societal demand for fair tests used fairly. Moment, all major test publishers strive to develop fair instruments when used in strict agreement with guidelines in the tested primer. Test tools are just like other tools; they can be used duly or inaptly.
Assumption 4 − Assessment can give answers to some of life’s most meaningful questions. Considering the numerous critical opinions grounded on testing and assessment procedures, we can readily appreciate the need for tests, especially good ones
Assumption 5 − Assessment can pinpoint marvels that bear further attention or study.
Assumption 6 − A variety of sources of data enrich and are part of the assessment process.
Assumption 7 − Various sources of error are part of the assessment process. Error traditionally refers to a commodity further than anticipated; it is an element of the dimension process. More specifically, error refers to a long-standing supposition that factors other than what a test attempts to measure will impact performance on the test.
Assumption 8 − Tests and Other dimension ways Have Strengths and weakness. Competent test users understand a great deal about the tests they use. For example, they understand, among other effects, how a test was developed and the circumstances under which it is applicable to administer the test. Likewise, competent test users understand and appreciate the tests’ limitations and how those limitations might be compensated for data from other sources.
Assumption 9 − Test-affiliated conduct predicts non-test-related conduct. Patterns of answers to true-false questions on one extensively used test of personality are used in decision timber regarding internal diseases. The task in some tests mimics the factual actions that the test users are trying to understand. For example, the attained conduct sample is used to diagnose unborn behavior.
Assumption 10 − Present-day conduct slice predicts unborn conduct.Conclusion
Psychological testing is defined as the administration of psychological tests. Psychological tests measure IQ, personality, attitude, interest, accomplishment, motivation, and so on. They may be defined as the standardized and objective measurement of a sample of behavior. Psychological testing is mostly objective, and they are also predictive and diagnostic. A psychological exam is also standardized, which means that the technique for conducting and evaluating the test is consistent.
When it comes to psychological testing, there are several assumptions. In psychological testing, there are four introductory hypotheticals people differ in important trait; we can quantify these traits; the traits are nicely stable; and measures of the traits relate to factual behavior. With quantification, it has meant that objects can be arranged along a continuum. This quantification supposition is pivotal to the conception of measuring.
Better usability testing for websites and apps: the top 10 mistakes to avoid
Done well, usability testing enables organisations to validate ideas and designs for websites and applications with real-world users, helping increase engagement, satisfaction and conversions. But executing a successful user testing strategy brings with it numerous challenges and potential hazards. Think about your redesign and conversion optimisation projects. Are you at risk of committing any common testing mistakes?Introduction to the value of usability testing
Research from the IEEE has found that fixing problems with software once development’s already begun is twice as expensive as resolving them before development commences.
Conducting lab-based usability testing that provides valuable insight into how users perceive and interact with your site or application before your project goes live can, therefore, deliver significant returns; in fact, it’s been found that for every dollar a company invests to increase usability it receives $10-$100 in benefits, and wins customer satisfaction and loyalty.Ten most common mistakes in usability testing
However, successfully crafting, conducting and analysing these tests requires careful planning, and there are a number of challenges that you may stumble across. Here are some of the most common mistakes people fall victim to, along with tips to ensure you get the most out of any testing activity you undertake.
1. Recruiting unsuitable participants
2. Not testing early and often during the project lifecycle
Testing throughout the project lifecycle is therefore recommended and there are, in fact, a wide variety of methods available, meaning that whatever your requirements there’s an option to suit you. Here’s a brief comparison of some of the most popular approaches:
Guerrilla testing * Asking members of the public to complete tasks. Low cost. High number of tests Quantitative & qualitative results. Unpredictable
Unmoderated remote testing ** Participants have no contact with a facilitator and complete tasks in their home environment. Low cost. High number of tests Quantitative results. Slightly unpredictable
Moderated remote testing *** Participants test remotely. Sessions are run by a facilitator. Similar costs to office-based testing. Sessions can be watched live Qualitative results. Heavily reliant on internet connection
Laboratory testing **** Participants test in the office and sessions are run by a facilitator. They can be watched live Qualitative results. Most likely to have more statistical validity
A combination of qualitative and quantitative testing throughout the project lifecycle has been found to produce the best results, so think about how you will build this into your own project. For example, a recent project I was involved with tested:
Early draft 5 facilitated sessions Laptop, web cam, meeting room on client’s premises
Version 2 10 unmoderated sessions 3rd party testing solution
Version 3 5 facilitated sessions Box UK Usability Lab, observer at Box UK’s London office
Preparing a test plan is vital to keep track of sessions and, perhaps more importantly, guarantee that all important areas have been covered during the testing.
However, you shouldn’t be afraid to go off-course when necessary, as you may find that the answers you get when users are acting freely provide interesting insights you hadn’t considered previously.
Ranking your questions in order of importance can help you manage this unplanned activity while ensuring that critical topics are addressed.
4. Not rehearsing your setup
5. Using a one-way mirror
Many usability labs feature one-way mirrors that enable observers to monitor sessions without being seen by participants. However if the user knows they are being watched this can lead to unnatural behaviours and, subsequently, have a negative effect on your results.
For this reason, transmitting audio and visual feeds to a different room is often a better option, and one that also caters to remote teams anywhere in the world.
6. Not meeting participants in reception
It’s important to remember that participants may be nervous about the session ahead, particularly if they’ve never been involved in laboratory testing before and are unsure about what’s required. Greeting them as soon as they arrive and making them feel at home helps create a relaxed and comfortable environment to support an open and insightful session.
7. Asking leading questions
When creating your test plan, make sure you review all questions for any possible bias, as otherwise you may find that you’re actually leading the user to certain answers or actions based on what you expect (or want) to happen. Also be mindful of body language, as this can provide you with an even greater understanding of user responses.
8. Interrupting the participant
While test facilitators should support the participant and, as covered above, explore potentially valuable new areas of enquiry, the main purpose of usability testing is to gather feedback from representative end-users. As such, make sure you give them enough time to express their thoughts, and avoid interrupting until you’re sure they are finished.
9. Undertaking two roles in a testing session
Lab-based usability testing sessions involve both a facilitator who guides the user through the tasks, and an observer responsible for making notes and conducting the initial analysis.
If a single consultant is performing both these roles then critical responses could be overlooked, so be sure to allocate appropriate time and budget to testing.
10. Not considering external influences
The Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service is now testing end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups. The feature was designed to protect your chat archive while it’s being uploaded to or downloaded from iCloud and stored on Apple’s servers (at rest).
WhatsApp’s latest iPhone beta includes encrypted iCloud backups
The long-awaited feature patches a major security loophole on WhatsApp
Law enforcement could easily gain access to unencrypted WhatsApp backupsWhatsApp is testing encrypted backups on iCloud
WhatsApp has kicked off testing of a new feature that encrypt chat backups stored on Apple’s servers after the Facebook-owned service announced encrypted iCloud backups last month.
As WABetaIno reports, this upcoming feature is available in WhatsApp Beta for iOS version 188.8.131.52. When it rolls out to everyone, WhatsApp users will be able to back up encrypted chat archives, media and attachments on iCloud without worrying about security.
People who are included in the test are offered the option to secure their backups in iCloud with a 64-digit encryption key. The user is responsible for keeping the password safe by writing it down or storing it in one of the password manager apps. Without the encryption key, no one can access the chat backup, not even the user themselves.
TechCrunch reported that WhatsApp has also developed a vault for storing the encryption key:
Users can also create a password that backs up their encryption key in a cloud-based “backup key vault” that WhatsApp has developed. The cloud-stored encryption key can’t be used without the user’s password, which isn’t known by WhatsApp.
This feature patches a major security loophole in WhatsApp. Accessing unencrypted WhatsApp chat backups on Google and Apple servers is “one of the widely known ways law enforcement agencies across the globe have for years been able to access WhatsApp chats of suspect individuals.” Read: How to check if a phone number is on WhatsAppEncrypted WhatsApp chats on Google Drive, too
WhatsApp said last month end-to-end encrypted chat backups were coming to both Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive services, with Mark Zuckerberg saying in a post on Facebook:
We’re adding another layer of privacy and security to WhatsApp: An end-to-end encryption option for the backups people choose to store in Google Drive or iCloud. WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups, and getting there was a really hard technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage across operating systems.
Actually, Zuckerberg, iMessage is the first global messaging service to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging. You probably omitted it because iMessage is not cross-platform like WhatsApp. One thing is certain: Without end-to-end encrypted backups, WhatsApp users are at risk of having their entire chat archives accessible to law enforcement and malicious users.The police won’t like WhatsApp’s encryption for iCloud backups
With end-to-end encryption, your WhatsApp backups are protected when they’re being created on the device, while being uploaded to iCloud or downloaded from it, as well as when the files reside stored on Apple’s servers. Not even Apple, nor WhatsApp for that matter, keeps the encryption key required to read or modify data in the backup file on iCloud.
And without the encryption key, rogue parties do not have the means to decrypt the backup file. In other words, end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups means law enforcement cannot compel Apple or WhatsApp to hand over a user’s WhatsApp chat archive backed up in iCloud. No one can decrypt your chats without knowing your unique decryption key.
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