WhatsApp Introduced end-to-end encryption

WhatsApp Introduced end-to-end encryption

Probably if you have just downloaded or updated your WhatsApp you will notice this weird popup message “Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with the end-to-end encryption. Tap for more info”.

Don’t panic nothing is wrong with your application it’s just a new service WhatsApp has merge in their latest build to make it more secure for each users using it.

So what is end-to-end encryption and how exactly does it work in WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is using “The Signal Protocol”, designed by Open Whisper Systems, for its encryption.

In its White Paper, explaining the technical details of the end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp says that “once the session is established, clients do not need to rebuild a new session with each other until the existing session state is lost through an external event such as an app reinstall or device change.”

Each message is coded with an authentic key; hence the Message Key changes for each message transmitted, and is ephemeral, such that the Message Key used to encrypt a message cannot be reconstructed from the session.” It also says that calls, large file attachments are end-to-end encrypted as well.

This feature is enabled by default in WhatsApp, which means that if you and your friends are on the latest version of the app, all chats will be end-to-end encrypted. WhatsApp has the feature on at all times. Users don’t have the option of switching off end-to-end encryption therefore users need to be on the same versions of WhatsApp to ensure that their chats get end-to-end encrypted meaning  if you’ve recently updated the app, and you start a chat with someone else also on this new version.

WhatsApp also offer a pop-up menu explaining what end-to-end encryption means. Users can verify if the encryption is working as well. If a user taps on verify, they will be taken to a page with a QR code, followed by a string of 60 numbers. If your friend is nearby, take their phone scan the code from your phone the option is there at the bottom of the same page and if the QR code matches, then the chat is encrypted. When the codes match, a green tick appears; when it doesn’t there’s an exclamation mark in red alerting a user that the chat is not secure. So does the end-to-end encryption work all the time?  In some cases, the verification failed for some users, there are cases reported that where users tried to verify a chat between an Android and iPhone 6s device running iOS 9.3.1, and the QR codes didn’t match also matching QR codes on two Android phones, and once again reported the red alert indicating no end-to-end encryption. Both Android phones are on the latest version of the app from the Google Play Store. However, verification between a chat on two iOS devices, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 5s also reported to worked as it showed the green tick. It’s not sure why the verification failed, even though the chat says it is end-to-end encrypted. We might have to wait for another app update that could fix this issue as it is still in its early stage of development.

This is an ingenious move as it will ensure that a user’s messages, videos, photos sent over WhatsApp can’t be read by anyone else not WhatsApp, not cyber criminals, not law-enforcement agencies. Even calls and group chats will be encrypted.

“A world of technology is closer than we think” –Crawler (online gamer)

 

 

Categories: Technology

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