Check the integrity of the browser extension using this WhatsApp tool before running WhatsApp web

Users of the WhatsApp version for laptops and desktops will now be able to use a browser extension to check the integrity of the software running on their browser. This project was born as part of a collaborative project between Meta and Cloudflare.

End-to-end encryption in WhatsApp protects users’ messages from being read by intermediaries, although you can never have enough security, especially considering that things can change when users turn to the web version of the messaging app.

The extension was dubbed Code Verify and, according to Meta software engineer Richard Hansen, is based on a browser security feature called “subsource integrity,” which allows browsers to check if the files obtained have been altered in any way.

Code Verify analyzes the JavaScript code in WhatsApp Web, a process for which Cloudflare’s collaboration is required, since the high amount of resources required for a complete verification exceeds the capabilities of WhatsApp: “Cloudflare has a hash of the code that WhatsApp users should execute,” says the report on this extension.

When users run WhatsApp in their browser, WhatsApp’s code verification extension compares a hash of that code running in their browser to Cloudflare’s hash, allowing you to easily check if the code you’re running is the correct code.

At the moment, Code Verify is available for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox, with plans to expand to Safari in the short term. The tool runs immediately after installation to start validating WhatsApp JavaScript libraries. The green indicator confirms that everything is valid, orange if the page needs to be updated or another extension interferes with Code Verify, and red if a hash discrepancy has been detected, indicating a possible compromise.

This integrity verification extension could make users of WhatsApp and other services that implement Code Verity less likely to install extensions that alter social media functions and raise potential security issues, strengthening the user experience in terms of cybersecurity.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.