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Microsoft launches ‘Private Conversations’ encryption for Skype

MICROSOFT HAS begun to roll out ‘Private Conversations’ for Skype, offering end-to-end encryption for calls and messages for the first time.

The move comes at an interesting time for messaging encryption. On one hand, Skype has been criticised for being much slower than its rivals at rolling out a confidential mode. On the other, governments and intelligence agencies are already up in arms over the widening use of encryption, pointing out that it can be used for criminal activities, such as planning terrorism.

As such, Microsoft has taken Skype in a “never fish nor foul” direction. Yes, encryption is there, but it’s not on by default – you have to turn it on manually.

So why bother at all? Well, the truth is that Skype is starting to lose ground to more progressive instant message services like WhatsApp (which has had end-to-end encryption from almost day one) and is, therefore, trying to give itself a more Snapchatty, Whatsappy type vibe.

It’s keeping up with the Jones but keeping the Mr Smiths sweet at the same time.

The difference is that Skype has been made to look like a disgruntled paint mixer after finding out their branch of Homebase is about to close and finding a big mallet on the way back from the meeting, and doing the whole thing in a badly advised prom dress.

That’s not to say that Skype was even completely insecure (unlike many of its users – amirite?) but because the encryption wasn’t end-to-end, there were key handover points in the process where anyone determined enough could have easily kicked the back doors in.

To use the service, you have to manually request an encrypted conversation from the other caller. If they agree, a secure line kicks in and you’re sorted.

What we’re not entirely sure why you wouldn’t use encryption unless you’re doing a demonstration of what it looks like when encryption isn’t working. And not even we can be arsed with that. Just take our word for it. Use the encryption. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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