End-to-end encryption for WhatsApp

It’s a security project that’s taken around a year and a half to complete, but messaging giant WhatsApp has now fully implemented strong end-to-end encryption on its platform and across all mobile platforms for which it offers apps.

This means users of the latest versions of the messaging app will have their comms and media end-to-end encrypted by default. And there are a lot of WhatsApp users; earlier this year the Facebook owned company announced it had passed a billion active users.

Securing cross-platform video comms was the last piece of the puzzle, according to a WhatsApp spokesman.

End-to-end encryption means the content of communications are not stored in plaintext on WhatsApp’s servers. Nor is the company able to decrypt users’ messages to access them since it does not hold the encryption keys. So WhatsApp will be unable to be compelled to hand over messaging data — even if served with a warrant by authorities demanding access.

While the WhatsApp news may seem timely in light of the recent high-profile battle between Apple and the FBI over an encrypted iPhone, the company has in fact been implementing encryption since 2013, the year NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden triggered a global privacy storm by revealing the extent of government mass surveillance programs.

WhatsApp then went on to partner with Open Whisper Systems the following year, and has been integrating its widely respected end-to-end encryption Signal Protocol specifically since late 2014. In a blog post today the not-for-profit hacker collective behind the latter open source tech confirmed the WhatsApp implementation is now complete.

…taken from Techcrunch

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