It took around one and a half years to complete the security project, and now the WhatsApp messenger has fully applied the robust end to end encryption policy to their application all around the world.
All the WhatsApp users who have updated their mobile phones with the latest version of the application would have the end to end encryption policy by default; hence they will have their communications and media encrypted. There are many WhatsApp users, this company owned by Facebook had proclaimed to cross a billion active users in the beginning of this year. A WhatsApp Spokesman said that safeguarding policy of videos and communications was the last piece of puzzle.
Meaning of end to end encryption is that the content of the communications would not be stored in the form of plaintext on the servers of WhatsApp. Even the company will be unable to decrypt the messages or get an access to them because they do not hold the encryption keys to it. Therefore WhatsApp can no longer be compelled by authorities demanding to access the messaging data even if they have a warrant for it.
This WhatsApp news may only seem appropriate if we talk about the latest high-profile conflict between Apple and the FBI about an encrypted iPhone, in fact the company has been implementing encryption since the year 2013, the same year when the NSA informer Edward Snowden initiated a global privacy storm by enlightening the level of government mass surveillance programs.
The following year after which the high-profile conflict came into limelight, WhatsApp ventured to partner with Open Whisper Systems, incorporating its well-known end to end encryption Signal Protocol from the end of the year 2014. Sources confirm that the WhatsApp executions have now been completed, it also said that the WhatsApp encryption implications includes chats, attachments, voice calls and voice notes, group chats throughout the devices of iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia S60 and S40, BB10 and Blackberry. All the users who have successfully updated the latest version of WhatsApp on their devices are getting full end to end encryption for each and every message they send or WhatsApp call that they make in order to communicate with others.
WhatsApp has indeed achieved a massively important security milestone by completing the default end to end encryption, still the messages sent from the app might or might not be end to end encrypted because it depends if the user has updated the latest version of WhatsApp or not. Which means even if the WhatsApp application is successfully running on the default end to end encryption policy, if the user is still using the old version of WhatsApp then his/her messages are not being encrypted.
The good news is that now the WhatsApp client will send a notification to the users asking them whether their chats were being encrypted or not, which includes a notice shown on the messaging screen; to bridge the gap in this transitional phase.
The Open Whisper System says, “Eventually all the pre-end to end capable clients will expire, at which point a new versions of the software will no longer transmit or accept plaintext messages at all.”
Encryption is an important tool that the governments, companies, and individuals need to promote for a safe and secure life in the new digital age. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement. While we understand the importance of work of law enforcement to keep people safe, efforts to weaken encryption will risk revealing people’s information and give rise to cyber criminals.
From now on the WhatsApp users will enjoy other facilities like knowing the person that they are chatting with is genuine or not, it is difficult to tell apart the genuine from imposter’s nowadays, but it is made easy by Whatsapp’s latest version where you can verify how authentic the encryption session is by scanning a QR code or reading loud a number string.
Open Whisper System says that they are looking forward to working with additional messengers over the coming years. The company expects that the end to end encryption “will ultimately represent the future of personal communication.”