WhatsApp Messenger Implements Full End-to-End Encryption

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whatsapp.pngWhatsApp has enabled full end-to-end encryption for all users of the mobile instant messenger app.

The Facebook-owned service started implementing end-to-end encryption to standard chat messages in 2014, but has now completed rollout to all forms of communication within the app, such as photos, videos and calls.

WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton officially announced the rollout on the company's blog:

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.

If you’re interested in learning more about how end-to-end encryption works, you can read about it here. But all you need to know is that end-to-end encrypted messages can only be read by the recipients you intend. And if you’re using the latest version of WhatsApp, you don’t have to do a thing to encrypt your messages: end-to-end encryption is on by default and all the time.

Encryption has become a hot topic in recent weeks following Apple's high-profile dispute with the FBI, which attempted to compel the company to unlock San Bernardino shooter Farook Syed's iPhone. On March 28 the Justice Department announced it had found an alternate method to gain access to the iPhone in question and dropped the lawsuit.

While the FBI has not shared how it was able to unlock the iPhone, nor shared details on what was found, it is believed Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, a company that offers "mobile forensic solutions," was enlisted to break into the device. The FBI is still working on analyzing the information found on the iPhone but says it's too early to tell if the data on the device is useful.

Last month, Swiss software developer and civil liberties outfit Proton Technologies released its end-to-end encrypted email app ProtonMail for iOS. Meanwhile, Apple is working to further harden iCloud security so that even it won't be able to access user information stored on its data servers.

WhatsApp Messenger is a free download for iPhone on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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60 months ago
Threw away WhatsApp as soon as Facebook bought them, as I didn't care for my messages filtering through FB's ad revenue machine and NSA servers. Took a while to get my friends on board with Telegram but it was worth it. For me this is too little, too late.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
I also ditched WhatsApp due to it being bought by FB as I do not trust them with an ounce of information. iMessage is fine for me, and for my Android friends I use Hangouts. I trust Google a bit more than Facebook. Which doesn't take much!

The end to end encryption is a start and a good thing though.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago
The more channels are encrypted, the harder it is for law enforcement to trample all over our rights. This is good thing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago

Threw away WhatsApp as soon as Facebook bought them, as I didn't care for my messages filtering through FB's ad revenue machine and NSA servers. Took a while to get my friends on board with Telegram but it was worth it. For me this is too little, too late.

Telegram is a 100% better solution - totally agree! The philosophy behind the company is quite sound, and when the devs spent just one week in the US for a convention, they were approached by FBI asking them to create a backdoor. They publicly refused, but there's no doubt in my mind that since FB owns WhatsApp, there's already a backdoor in place, despite the encryption.

The feature set and security of Telegram is amazing. And the company has no problem explaining why they make this app free. I trust Telegram a *lot*.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

It's kind of ironic though, as the primary goal of Facebook which owns Whatsapp is to gather data but is willingly encrypting every device on their own service. Call me a cynic, but I don't trust them one bit.

Also, Telegram is miles better at end to end device encryption.
At least I trust them more, but on the other hand almost none of my friends seem to switch to it. :mad:

It's not really ironic at all. It's smart. This gives FB the appearance of privacy protection while their main source of ad revenue and data mining still hums along perfectly fine. The amount of potential ad serving data in messaging is miniscule compared to their main revenue generator.

Generally speaking, most people either don't care about encryption, don't know about it's importance, or think "I'm not doing anything so..." Besides, a large percentage of people freely share every detail of their lives online. :oops: To them, the concepts of privacy and encryption are about as relevant as a 3rd superfluous nipple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

it is russian tho

It is controlled by several Russians, but it seems that the web of mailbox companies that Telegram has spun to hide its identity leads ultimately back to the US. What is more concerning is that Telegram is made by Zuckerberg’s former rival Durov, who was in charge of the Russian ‘Facebook’ until he was ousted by Russian authorities. He was as much in the business of big data as Facebook is. Telegram is at least as dubious as WhatsApp.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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