One of the recent updates in WhatsApp is its ability to support end to end encryption messages.
This encryption ensures that the messages you send and receive are safe and secure. With the end to end strategy adopted, only authorized users will be able to decrypt messages. In other words, only the sender and receiver can read the intended message(s). Not even WhatsApp employees or hackers will be able to gain access to the messages sent or received. This applies to any form of messages – text, images, videos, and files. With encryption featuring in group chats, non-group members will have no clue at all about the happenings in the group. Added to this, voice calls are also likely to be encrypted in the near future.
The encryption in WhatsApp works using an open-source protocol known as Signal that is developed by an organization called Open Whsiper Systems. This company has worked in close association with WhatsApp in determining its requirements and the level of encryption to be provided. The app ensures that smartphones featuring this app support the encryption and decryption keys to be applied to messages going out and coming into the device. The encryption technology is supported by all recent WhatsApp versions running on Android, Windows, BlackBerry, iPhones, and Nokia phones. Keeping in line with the usual trend, WhatsApp first introduced encryption on Android before extending it to other platforms.
With the encryption in place, people can communicate with each other and express themselves freely without fear of unintended people gaining access to their private stuff. This way, you can talk to your doctor about your medication or have a discussion with an associate about a business proposal without the fear of being overheard or the call being tapped.
This encryption setting is turned on by default by WhatsApp in all devices. If you are running the version of WhatsApp that has encryption support, you will be informed of this on your chat screen when you send messages across along with a lock symbol next to the confirmation screen. You can also verify the default ON setting by making use of a unique QR code on the phone of each contact in your list. In case, for some reason, the default encryption setting does not get activated, you can do it yourself through a simple process. In your chat window, just click on your buddy’s name at the top of the window to display his or her profile details. You will find an option to turn the encryption on. In fact, WhatsApp has become very focused on making encryption mandatory that it now refuses to work on unencrypted messages. If a person tries to send his or her contact list buddy an unencrypted message, WhatsApp will immediately prevent him from doing so. Additionally, the sender will be informed that this is because the messages being sent from his or her end are not encrypted.
When the encryption process was first implemented by WhatsApp, it took place over a central hub. Messages management and key exchange coordination take place centrally, apart from central control of the encrypted code that is executed on both the servers and mobile phones. However, this did not result in complete safety and paved way for end to end encryption. As a result, messages will get decrypted only on the receivers’ handsets rather than in between the server and the handsets.
Initially in 2014, when the app began working on getting encryption integrated with it, only text messages supported this concept. Today, WhatsApp has over one billion current users of and the count is increasing with each passing day. With such a huge count, it only becomes an unsaid rule to find ways of ensuring users’ safety and privacy for all services rendered by the app. The end to end encryption has definitely turned out to be a great boon in this regard. Encrypted communication service has been welcomed wholeheartedly for any form of communication.
Following the overwhelming success of end to end encryption, WhatsApp is now focused on working on a feature for its users to verify the identities of other users with the help of a cryptographic key. This makes it all the more difficult for unauthorized users to intercept conversations part way. Third parties get completely eliminated between the sender and the receiver.