Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp has announced today that communications on it’s chat application are now fully end-to-end encrypted. What this means is that the content shared by individuals, be it text messages, voice messages, photos, documents and videos are now more secured.
According to the WhatsApp blog post to get the new encryption what users need to do is simply to update to the latest version. Back in November 2014 WhatsApp already began rolling out encrypted text messages based on it’s partnership with Open Whisper Systems, now these protection extends to voice calls, video and multi-party chat rooms for WhatsApp users.
WhatsApp end-to-end encryption automatically encodes messages with an algorithm which can only be unlocked by the sender and recipient, According to WhatsApp; “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.”
This announcement came during times when talks concerning encryption is the order of the day, especially following the standoff between the FBI and Apple over unlocking Syed’s iPhone. Apple’s campaign was in favor of encryption, whereas the FBI thought otherwise. Now one of the most popular messaging app in the world has added encryption as it’s watchword.
“Building secure products actually makes for a safer world, (though) many people in law enforcement may not agree with that,” said WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. He also added that secure communications allows individuals to safely become whistleblowers, or talk with doctors or business partners without the fear of eavesdroppers. More detail on the encryption is available here.
WhatsApp Messenger was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!. It is a proprietary cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones. It uses the Internet to send text messages, images, video, user location and audio media messages to other users using standard cellular mobile numbers. The name “WhatsApp” was used because it sounded like “what’s up. As of February 2016, WhatsApp had a user base of up to one billion, making it the most globally popular messaging application.
WhatsApp Inc. is based in Mountain View, California and has been acquired by Facebook Inc. on February 19, 2014, for approximately US$19.3 billion.