Good news for all Privacy Lovers!! Finally the wildly popular messaging app WhatsApp has made end-to-end encryption a default feature, stepping a way forward for the online privacy of its users around the world.
WhatsApp, most popular messaging app with 600 Million users as of October 2014, has partnered with Open Whisper Systems to boost its privacy and security by implementing strong end-to-end encryption on all text messages.
The strong end-to-end encryption here means that even Mark Zuckerberg himself can’t pry into your conversations, even if asked by law enforcement officials. The app maker describe this move as the “largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.”
The Open Whisper System is a non-profit software organisation started by security researcher Moxie Marlinspike, who is behind the development of TextSecure app used for encryption. Over the past three years, his team has been in the process of developing a ‘modern, open source, strong encryption protocol’ for messaging service, which is now being incorporated into Whatsapp.
“We have a ways to go until all mobile platforms are fully supported, but we are moving quickly towards a world where all WhatsApp users will get end-to-end encryption by default,” Open Whisper System said in a blog post.
“We’re excited to incorporate what we’ve learned from this integration into our future design decisions, and to bring this experience to bear on integrations that we do with other companies and products in the future.“
There are some limits to WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, as so far, it only works on Android platform (with iOS coming soon) and covers only text messaging. Also the app is now open to potential man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks because there’s no way to check or verify the identity of the person you are messaging.
WhatsApp was bought by Facebook for $19 billion in February. The popular app has been criticized over the years for a series of security and privacy issues. But after the announcement of this rollout, it has been praised over the internet by security folks.
“WhatsApp deserves enormous praise for devoting considerable time and effort to this project,” reads the post. “Even though we’re still at the beginning of the rollout, we believe this already represents the largest deployment of end-to-end encrypted communication in history.“
Other encryption messaging apps do exist currently, including Cryptochat, Silent Text and Telegram, but according to the Verge, WhatsApp will be the largest to implement this type of end-to-end encryption ever.
Open Whisper Systems is a company built from open source contributors and a dedicated team to advance “state of the the art” secure communication, and is best known as the developer of the Signal, Redphone, and TextSecure apps.