Published on April 6th, 2016 | by Saurabh Pandey


WhatsApp Introduces End-to-End Encryption Feature

Instant messaging service WhatsApp has introduced end-to-end encryption for all its users.  Open Whisper Systems, an organization that aims to advance secure communication technology, worked with WhatsApp over the past year to implement a full-coverage encryption system. Today, WhatsApp users will see notices in their conversation screens as their messages become secure.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, largely to take advantage of its 450 million-plus userbase. Today, more than 1 billion people use WhatsApp across the globe. And now, they all use end-to-end encryption.

The WhatsApp team has been slowly rolling out security services since November 2014 at least, when it announced end-to-end encryption for text messages on Android. It’s possible that terrorists used WhatsApp and another encrypted messaging service, Telegram, to help coordinate the deadly attacks on Paris in December.

WhatsApp, the second-most popular messaging app in the world is covered by a similar form of end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption Security

“Building secure products actually makes for a safer world, (though) many people in law enforcement may not agree with that,” WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton tells Wired. He adds that secure communications allow people to safely become whistleblowers, or talk with doctors or business partners without the fear of eavesdroppers.

The company also made explicit reference to the ongoing debate about whether technology companies should be able to use such security measures. “Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement,” it wrote. “While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states.” But the move also helps to ensure that WhatsApp conversations are less likely to be used for advertising, a concern that many voiced when the messaging service was bought by Facebook in 2014. While WhatsApp will still be able to access some important data, such as the behaviour of its users, the actual content of conversations will now be much harder to read.

The company said that it expects that end-to-end encryption will be added to other services in the future since it “will ultimately represent the future of personal communication”.

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