WhatsApp is committed to increasing the security of anyone who is using the service. Today, they are doing so by adding an extra layer of security for logging into WhatsApp Web or the desktop app. This means that the next time you link your WhatsApp account to your web browser or desktop, you will be asked to authenticate the login request using your enrolled fingerprint or face date on your phone.
Before introducing this change, logging into WhatsApp Web was a lot simpler. You just had to scan the QR code using your smartphone camera, and you would be in. Although simpler and convenient, this also raised some potential privacy breaches, as anyone can access the smartphone and scan the QR code to get into the WhatsApp chat.
Ideally, this update should provide an extra layer of security since now your metrics are needed to log in, and it is certainly a welcomed addition.
WhatsApp Web Becomes More Secure with Biometric Authentication
WhatsApp is being transparent about this change and has told us that the authentication process will be handled by the respective OS' biometric APIs, which means that WhatsApp is not going to have access to the data stored on your phone in any case.
Today we’re starting to roll out a new security feature for WhatsApp Web and Desktop: face and fingerprint unlock when linking devices.
WhatsApp does not see your face or fingerprint data.
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 28, 2021
At the time of writing, the new biometric authentication feature is rolling out to Android and iOS. The feature will be enabled by default on Android devices that have biometric authentication support enabled; the same goes for iOS devices that are running on iOS 14 and above, and you cannot turn this feature off, either. If you want to disable it, you will have to disable biometric authentication altogether, which is not the most convenient way, but WhatsApp is taking security seriously.
You should also know that the feature has not rolled out to everyone; however, you should be seeing the new feature rolling out regardless.