Good News: WhatsApp Gets Serious About End To End Encryption

from the good-to-see dept

We recently noted that it was really good news to see companies like Google and Apple finally taking end user encryption seriously, and it appears that's spreading. The super-popular chat messaging app WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook not too long ago, just turned on full end-to-end encryption, powered by Open Whisper Systems, the makers of such great tools as TextSecure, which is the basis for the new encryption:
The most recent WhatsApp Android client release includes support for the TextSecure encryption protocol, and billions of encrypted messages are being exchanged daily. The WhatsApp Android client does not yet support encrypted messaging for group chat or media messages, but we’ll be rolling out support for those next, in addition to support for more client platforms. We’ll also be surfacing options for key verification in clients as the protocol integrations are completed.

WhatsApp runs on an incredible number of mobile platforms, so full deployment will be an incremental process as we add TextSecure protocol support into each WhatsApp client platform. 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.
It sounds like this project started prior to the Facebook acquisition, so it's great to see it continue to move forward either way. Just recently, the EFF rated various messaging apps for their security (which resulted in some controversy...), and WhatsApp didn't score all that well, while TextSecure got a perfect score. Making messaging more and more secure is incredibly important, so it's great to see it happening here.

Filed Under: encryption, messaging
Companies: whatsapp, whisper systems

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2014 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re:

    A plus is that perfect forward secrecy is proposed so reading of the message shouldn't be possible except for when the man in the middle knows the long term key on the ends

    Good to know that someone uses PFS but not sure how safe that is in the current form(using mobile devices). Looks like they have to send two security letters now. One to Facebook and one to whoever build the phone i.e. Apple. And if that doesnt work there is always the blackmarket for 0days or if all fails then I bet there will be a new law.

    The whole security thing confuses me a bit atm. Should I be happy they don't want new laws but that might mean they have other ways (e.g. 0days) to access the data or should I be for new laws which would mean they cant access the data at the moment?

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