It wasn’t too long ago that WhatsApp made the encryption update available to all its users. With the rollout going on for some time, it can be safe to assume that the encryption feature is being used by most of the users, allowing them to partake in the benefits no matter what mobile platform they are on.
The company also said its outdated versions would eventually expire, meaning most folks will end up having a version that will have the end-to-end encryption feature.
WhatsApp is known as the most popular IM app in the world, but many people have been left to ask why its developers are only now including encryption unlike similar apps – Wickr, Threema and Signal.
What Is Encryption?
It’s a technique of encoding information so that only authorized individuals can read it. It can’t stop someone from intercepting the data but does keep them from viewing it. These messages are only held by people who have the keys to access it. With end-to-end encryption, nobody (WhatsApp included) can get access to the chats – only the senders, which ensures complete privacy of those chats.
Here’s a brief rundown of what WhatsApp had to say about the matter:
WhatsApp users’ messages are now protected with end-to-end encryption, which means third parties and our developers unable to access or read them – only the recipient can decrypt the message. All WhatsApp messages – chats, groups chats, videos, images, voices messages and files – are protected with end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp servers have no access to users’ private keys and they have the right to verify the keys to make sure the community integrity is kept.
This just means that a message’s content has been encrypted so that it can’t be read during transit of the WhatsApp servers but the metadata information – communication date and time as well as communication parties can be accessed. This metadata will be useful to the government and security agencies if it’s needed.
No doubt encryption is the new way of life, and is an integral part for people who want to ensure their online communications are safe and confidential.