WhatsApp has announced that it’s implementing end-to-end encryption on its messaging service, which will make it difficult for anyone to read user messages, particularly nosy governments. In fact, even WhatsApp itself won’t be able to decrypt the messages.
The encryption comes by way of integration with the open-source software TextSecure, created by privacy-focused non-profit Open Whisper Systems, which also develops Signal and Redphone apps. TextSecure keeps messages private by utilizing a cryptographic key that is unique to the message and user device. This new encryption is out for Android smartphones and tablets and has been for a week, and will also be coming to Windows Phone and iOS soon.
“I do think this is the largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.”
“WhatsApp is integrating TextSecure into the most popular messaging app in the world, where people exchange billions of messages a day,” says Moxie Marlinspike, Open Whisper System’s creator and a well known software developer in the cryptography community. “I do think this is the largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever.”
WhatsApp messages will not be decrypted until they are received by the user. Most users won’t notice the change for now, but more features, such as verifying friend ID using cryptographic keys, could also be in the works for future updates.
Download the new secure WhatsApp using this QR code.