Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp (EXWA) is a Windows tool to acquire, decrypt and display WhatsApp communication histories. The tool offers multiple acquisition options to extract and decrypt WhatsApp data from multiple local and cloud sources including Android smartphones, iOS system backups (iTunes and iCloud), and WhatsApp proprietary cloud backups in Google Drive and iCloud Drive.
The tool supports both rooted and non-rooted Android phones. Encrypted backups can be automatically decrypted providing that the correct password is supplied. Downloading cloud backups from Apple iCloud and iCloud Drive requires entering the user’s Apple ID and password or using a binary authentication token extracted from the user’s computer, while Google Drive downloads require a login and a password. Two-factor authentication is supported for both Apple and Google accounts.
The built-in viewer offers convenient view of messages, calls and pictures stored in multiple WhatsApp databases obtained from the different sources. Instant filtering and ultra-fast searching allow finding records of interest in a matter of seconds.
Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp is an all-in-one standalone acquisition, extraction and viewing tool for WhatsApp backups.
Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp supports all of the following acquisition methods of WhatsApp databases:
WhatsApp Messenger is one of the most popular instant messaging tools, if not the most popular one. WhatsApp clients are available for all mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry, and Microsoft Windows Phone 8.x and Windows 10 Mobile.
WhatsApp is a popular target for spammers, hoaxers and cyber criminals. On at least one occasion, intercepted WhatsApp communications helped uncover a terrorist organization.
Since WhatsApp employs secure end-to-end messaging, it is not possible for law enforcement to request communication histories from Facebook who currently owns WhatsApp. As a result, acquisition is only possible from end-user devices or data backups produced by such devices and saved either locally or stored in a cloud.
Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp can extract WhatsApp conversations directly from a wide range of Android smartphones. As WhatsApp securely encrypts its databases, root access is recommended (but not required) for acquisition. If no root access is available, Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp will employ a workaround by pushing an acquisition tool into the phone temporarily for extracting the decryption key.
If root access is available, Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp can extract WhatsApp conversations from Android handsets running Android 4.0 through 9.0. Without root access, compatibility is limited to Android versions 4.0 through 6.0.1.
WhatsApp Business extraction is supported for Android devices. Since WhatsApp Business is a separate app with a different security profile, Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp requires root access to extract information directly from a physical Android handset. Logical acquisition (backup files) as well as cloud extraction from Google Drive are available without root access.
WhatsApp has the ability to create cloud backups of its database, saving them in Apple iCloud Drive (iPhone) or Google Drive (Android phones). WhatsApp backups are unique per phone number. This means that the number of available WhatsApp backups in the user’s cloud account will depend on how many different phone numbers are used.
Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp can extract and decrypt proprietary WhatsApp backups from both Google Drive and iCloud Drive. When obtaining a decryption key, one-time access to the user’s phone number or SIM card is required to receive a verification code. Without the code, the conversation database will remain encrypted; only the files (photos and videos) and contacts (Google Drive only) will be available.
WhatsApp is an instant messaging application. Its databases contain information about peer-to-peer communications between users, including the following records:
WhatsApp Database Content
Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp is equipped with a built-in viewer supporting multiple WhatsApp databases extracted from various sources. The viewer includes instant filtering and quick search functionality. Finding a certain contact, message or conversation is easy by specifying a date range or typing a partial key word into the search box.
The built-in data export facility enables exporting WhatsApp data into a standard Excel-compatible XLSX file. Experts can use these files to continue their investigation in the product of their choice.
The Standard edition of Elcomsoft Explorer for WhatsApp can download information from Google Drive, Apple iCloud and iCloud Drive. In order to be able to download information from Google Drive, Apple iCloud or iCloud Drive, the correct login and password are required. For Apple iCloud, one can use a binary authentication token extracted from the user’s PC or Mac. For extracting binary authentication tokens, we recommend using a tool from Elcomsoft Phone Breaker (if you don’t own a license, the evaluation version will work just fine). Decrypting the backup requires a one-time code received by an SMS to a registered phone number.  Without the code, the conversation database will remain encrypted; only the files (photos and videos) and contacts (Google Drive only) will be available.
WhatsApp encrypts its cloud backups. In order to decrypt the backups, one-time access to the user’s registered phone number or SIM card is required. The decryption key is permanent, and can be used to decrypt existing and future backups created on iCloud Drive (for Google Drive, only existing ones). Alternatively, the encryption key can be obtained from jailbroken iPhones using Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit keychain extraction.
Binary authentication tokens can be extracted from the user’s computer with a tool available with Elcomsoft Phone Breaker. If you don’t own the product, the token extraction tool is also available in the free evaluation version of Elcomsoft Phone Breaker.