WhatsApp Messages Are Now More Secure With End-To-End Encryption
WhatsApp is about to get more secure with the new encryption technique that will be implemented on over 600 million WhatsApp users. The technique called “end-to-end encryption” will increase the security and it will help in preventing private messages to be read by a third-party.
To incorporate this technique in its messaging service, Facebook-owned WhatsApp contracted Open Whisper Systems (OWS) — the creator of TextSecure encrypted text app. This app utilizes advanced encryption techniques to ensure that the messages being communicated between its users are always secure.
End-to-end encryption takes the process of securing messages to another level. It works by storing the key used for encryption and decryption of messages at the clients’ ends.
For example, if a user Alice is sending a message to user Bob, the message is encrypted before it is sent using an unscrambling key only known by Bob’s device. When Bob receives the message, it is decrypted using that key.
This method eliminates the possibility that the message may be decrypted by a third party. Earlier, encryption techniques utilized by WhatsApp used keys that were stored on servers. It made the employees of the company able to decrypt the message and read it. Now it is not possible because of end-to-end encryption.
The TextSecure encryption protocol is particularly strong because it uses a form of what’s known as “forward secrecy”. In this technique, a fresh key is generated for every message sent.
Although Open Whisper Systems has created a rival, they are looking to develop more such products. Some of them are RedPhone for Android for encrypted voice communications and iOS Signals apps.
“We’re more excited about our own apps than ever. We’ll continue to use TextSecure as a place to advance the state of the art, and hopefully incorporate those gains into third-party products as they progress, like we’ve done here,” said OWS co-founder Moxie Marlinspike.
OWS said in a blog post that the task for which they are contracted represents the largest deployment of end-to-end encryption in history. Apple’s iMessage is the only comparable service that uses this encryption technique at a massive scale. However, it has a weakness – many people backup their message to iCloud which is not as secure as some might think.
This new feature of encryption is available for Android users only for time being. Marlinspike confirmed that it will be extended to iOS users soon as they are already working on it. Also, the technique will encrypt messaging for group chats and media messages in near future.