IT Security

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Instant communication giant WhatsApp has confirmed that End-to-End encryption will be applied to all its services.

Unreadable to outside world

With this feature enabled, Messages are re-arranged to appear in an unreadable format until they are then un-encrypted and returned to a readable state. The decryption can only take place on the recipient’s device.

This Means that the message content is unusable to anyone who seeks to intercept the message between sender and recipient. This hides message content from Hackers and Law enforcement alike.

WhatsApp, which has a billion users worldwide, said file transfers and voice calls would be encrypted too. The Facebook-owned company stated protecting private communication was one of its "core beliefs".

Encryption is turned on by default for all users

So far users have no way of disabling the new encryption setting, although it’s unlikely that you would want to. As long as users have an updated version of the WhatsApp app on their supported mobile platform, the perks of secure and end-to-end encrypted conversations will be turned on by default without any extra setup.

Public Reaction

Amnesty International called the move a "huge victory" for free speech.

"Whatsapp's roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end to end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for people's ability to express themselves and communicate without fear," the organisation said in a statement.

"This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk."

Security professionals also welcomed the decision "Wire-tappers lament, law-abiding citizens rejoice, for WhatsApp's latest update is a victory for communications privacy," said Lee Munson, a security researcher for Comparitech.

The praise for the move is not shared by all however, the American department of Justice has expressed Concerns over “Unreachable” Data contained on devices and has compared the App to “telegram” which is frequently used by the so called Islamic State.

Further Reading

For more information, please visit: https://threatpost.com/whatsapp-adds-end-to-end-encryption-to-one-billion-users/117213/