One of the reasons why WhatsApp becomes one of the most popular messaging services is because of the strong security feature. It encrypts messages from end to end, so the only ones who can read those messages are the sender and the receiver - unless someone else can open either the sender’s or receiver’s phones.
But sometimes even the owner of the phone can’t access his/her phones due to technical glitches. If you can’t access your own phone, can you still read your encrypted WhatsApp messages?
In September 2012, WhatsApp introduced data encryption as one of its security features. This step is taken to prevent session hijacking and packet analysis which often happened before.
WhatsApp uses crypt2, crypt5, crypt7, and crypt8 form to encrypt all data. It means that hacking the database files to read all chat messages has become almost impossible.
But there are tricks that you can use to decrypt the database without key and support files. You can use this method to access your conversations.
Before we begin, please note that this trick works on Android devices. With that out of the way, let’s start.
The first thing that you need to do is to create a copy of your WhatsApp database to make sure that you don’t destroy the original file. To do that, open your Android File Explorer or File Browser. Then create a new folder or the SD card.
Then navigate to this location your SD card: /WhatsApp/Databases/msgstore.db.crypt. Then copy the msgstore.db.crypt files into the new folder that you’ve just created.
The next step is to decrypt the database into something that understandable for the human. To do this, we can use the help from one of the decryption apps available in the Google Play Store.
The recommended app that you can use is Omni-crypt because not only it’s easy to use, it’s also usable without having to root your device first. Please note that if the encryption file is above crypt6 version, you would need the encryption key that could only be found on the rooted device.
To know what version your crypt database is, just look at the end of the filename. There will be a number indicating the crypt version. For example, crypt6 means that the crypt database is in version 6.
After downloading the app, open it as you would normally open other apps.
You will see the app interface with several options.
If your database is crypt5 or below, select the first option to decrypt it. If your database is version 6 or higher, select the third option. Your phone also has to be rooted for this third option.
After the database is decrypted, we need to extract it to the format that is readable by the human. To do that, go to WhatCrypt.com and upload the files there and hit on Process/Download Zip to continue.
The downloaded result is a readable conversation.
Even though we are not touching the original databases, there is always a possibility that our actions ruin them. So it’s always better to have second and third (or more) backups of your data.
To help you backup and restore all of your WhatsApp data, you could use the help of WhatsApp Recovery. This app will help you backup and recover WhatsApp messages and contacts from iOS and Android devices.