The most popular Facebook-owned WhatsApp has announced that going forward, messages, voice calls, and sharing of photos and videos, are now encrypted end-to-end. Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Privacy is very important when it comes to online security. WhatsApp is set to roll out end-to-end encryption to all users.
Now people using WhatsApp on any platform can send anything to another user, and it will be inaccessible to anyone except the recipient. Not even WhatsApp itself can get in.
With end-to-end encryption, no one, not even WhatsApp, can access them in route. Each message you send is secured with its own lock, with only you and your recipients having the key necessary to unlock. WhatsApp then claims to delete messages from its servers after they’ve been delivered.
Wired reported that:
This means that if any group of people useing the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phones calls, photos, and videos moving among them. And that’s true on any phone that runs the app, from iPhones to Android phones to Windows phones to old school Nokia flip phones.
But i doubt if this update will be available for Blackberry 10, Windows phone 7 and Symbian users since WhatsApp has announced that they’ll discontinue supports for these devices.
This feature comes as the result of a server-side change, so no new update is required. You don’t even need a friend online to try things out. Messages sent to yourself are apparently also secured. So go ahead, talk to yourself, nobody will penalize you.
According to WhatsApp, “From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats.
The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.”
While WhatsApp has been adding encryption features for years now, the company felt it needed to make a larger move to protect the privacy of its more than 1 billion users around the world. As co-founder Jan Koum states:
We’re somewhat lucky here in the United States, where we hope that the checks and balances hold out for many years to come and decades to come. But in a lot of countries you don’t have these checks and balances,” says Koum, dressed in his usual T-shirt and hoodie. Coming from Koum, this is not an academic point, as most of WhatsApp’s users are outside the US.
According to Crackberry, this move comes after a very public fight between the FBI and Apple over encryption, in which the FBI attempted to compel Apple to disable a security feature in iOS by creating a special version of the operating system and loading to a suspect’s phone. While law enforcement officials have yet to speak on WhatsApp’s recent actions, it seems likely that they’ll have something to say sooner or later.
One important information worth mentioning here is that, if the message recipient or group members are yet to get the new WhatsApp update, you will not be able to switch on the end-to-end encryption feature.
Meanwhile, there are still ways to spy on WhatsApp messages. This end-to-end encryption may have stopped spy apps, but spying on someone’s WhatsApp message can still be done online. Click to read more