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WhatsApp Now Features End-to-End Encryption

WhatsApp Now Features End-to-End Encryption

by Novak Bozovic13/04/2016
In the light of the recent high-profile battle between the FBI and Apple, companies are doing their best to show how much they care about privacy and data protection.

This is why we have been seeing numerous press releases whose main goal is to ensure us that our emails, messages, and files are secured. The question of security isn’t anything new, but it has reached its critical point.

Among those companies and press releases, one of the most popular messaging apps made a very important announcement. We are talking about WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned company with over a billion active users.

The messaging giant has implemented an end-to-end encryption across all mobile platforms, which means that your media and messages are safe and secured.

End-to-end encryption means that the content isn’t stored on the app’s servers, since the company no longer holds the encryption keys. This way, WhatsApp is able of accessing your private data, even if served with a warrant.

Interestingly enough, this project took around a year and a half to complete. WhatsApp has partnered with Open Whisper Systems, which is a non-profit hacker collective that is battling for safe communication. The so-called Signal Protocol is now part of the latest version of WhatsApp. What this means is that users need to upgrade to the latest version to take advantage of this feature.

Once upgraded, the application will show a notification of the encryption status of chats, which includes a notice on the messaging screen. In the meantime, if you are chatting with a user who is using an older version of WhatsApp, your messages might not be encrypted.

The key to encryption is to ensure authenticity of users. This means that WhatsApp will be able to confirm your identity by verifying a phone number, scanning a QR code, or reading aloud a number string. Since there is no way to turn this feature off, all your voice calls, texts, videos, and pictures are going to be encrypted.

The bottom line is that companies are finally aware of how important it is to keep private data safe.

However, even encrypted, data can still be accessed as the FBI showed in a request for Apple to allow access to a phone used by a terrorist. Even though Apple managed to hold off the FBI, this government agency has found its way through.

Interestingly enough, the Facebook-owned company has disclosed that it retains a huge amount of data about sent messages. The now employed method of encryption doesn’t mean that your messages will be deleted if you delete them on your phone, even though this is a step in the right direction.

Even though some are considering that WhatsApp has made a PR trick aimed at those who were afraid of using this service due to security concerns, which made a number of privacy experts to agree that there’s always a reason for concern.

In conclusion

Web communications are what’s upsetting privacy advocates around the world, forcing us all to think about how much of our messages and emails are truly ours. At least, WhatsApp is trying to comfort us for a while.

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About The Author
Novak Bozovic
Tech editor and architecture student. His stories have featured in numerous online publications covering hottest stories about IT-and tech trends.

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