WhatsApp end-to-end encryption: WhatsApp, the world’s popular and largest instant messaging service has rolled out full or end-to-end encryption for its 1 billion users across all devices, including iPhones, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Nokia phones. By default, WhatsApp is now end-to-end encrypted at all times. The latest update which is rolled out ensures that a user who sends messages, photos and videos over WhatsApp can’t be read by anyone else, including WhatsApp employees, cyber-criminals, and even the law-enforcement agencies. This means that no one else except the sender and receiver of the message or call will be able to access their contents. Even WhatsApp calls and group chats of every individual user will be encrypted. Enable WhatsApp end-to-end encryption now as follows.
The new full encryption update is announced by the co-founder of WhatsApp namely Jan Koum via his Facebook page, stating that the company has been working on the feature for the last couple of years. At the same time, it portrays the intensification of a trend toward universal encryption that has posed challenges for law enforcement in the United States and all over the world. Once communications with a user are encrypted, the WhatsApp client will then notify the user and decline to send any unencrypted messages, addressing past concerns that the system might be exposed to a downgrade attack.
Recently, WhatsApp has rolled out new updates like text formatting and document sharing for all its users. It is quite a good news for the WhatsApp users on all platforms but, what exactly does the end-to-end encryption mean and how does it work in WhatsApp? Let me explain you all these in a detailed way in this article. Just take a look at the detailed description and get to know how to enable it. Check it out!
What is End-to-End Encryption?
End-to-end encryption is a secure method of communication wherein the people who are communicating can only have the ability to access messages sent. Eavesdroppers, such as cyber-criminals and hackers, Internet providers, telecoms or government officials will not have any kind of access to reading others communications.
Also Read: Best WhatsApp Hacks
Even the company that built and runs the service cannot access messages, and therefore, cannot easily collaborate with authorities who request these exchanges.
What is WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption?
WhatsApp had earlier encrypted its services to some extent, for instance, its text messages have been encrypted since November 2014. Despite, it has spent the last couple of years working with nonprofit software group called Open Whisper Systems, rolling end-to-end encryption out across WhatsApp on every single platform on which it is available and for all sorts of communications. You should get a message in the messaging app today, notifying you regarding the mass rollout.
WhatsApp has developed this end-to-end encryption by using “The Signal Protocol”, designed by Open Whisper Systems, for its encryption. It has explained all the technical details of the end-to-end encryption in its white paper and 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.”
How Messages are Encrypted on WhatsApp?
Here’s the detailed description on how messages are encrypted.
- Once a message is sent from the sender, the clients will then exchange messages that are protected with a Message Key using AES256 in CBC mode for encryption and HMAC-SHA256 for authentication.
- The Message Key alters for each message transmitted, and is transient, such that the Message Key used to encrypt a message cannot be restored from the session.
- It also says that calls, large file attachments are end-to-end encrypted as well.
Note: The ever-changing message key can mean a delay in some messages getting delivered.
How to Enable WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption on your Device?
- Once you tap on the message, WhatsApp has a pop-up menu display on the screen describing what exactly end-to-end encryption means. Users can then verify if the encryption is working as well.
- If a user taps on verify, they will taken to a page with a QR code, followed by a string of 60 numbers.
- If your friend is nearby, just take their phone scan the code from your phone (You can view the option at the bottom of the same page) and if the QR code matches, then the chat is encrypted.
- If the security code matches then, a green tick appears. If the security code doesn’t match then there’s an exclamation mark in red alerting a user that the chat is not secure. Here’s the warning:
You opened “Verify Security Code” for the wrong phone number. Open it for the correct number to verify.
WhatsApp End-to-End Encryption – Things You Need to Know
- It should be noted that 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.
- Users can now begin a secret conversation to enable the feature on WhatsApp at all times. Remember that, users don’t have the option of switching off end-to-end encryption.
- Users need to be on the same versions of WhatsApp to ensure that their chats get end-to-end encrypted.
- If you’ve recently updated the app, and you begin a chat with someone else (also on the new version) you are likely to see a message saying, “Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption. Tap for more info.”
- The latest update will not affect how you use WhatsApp on a daily basis.
- It means that it will be much more challenging for WhatsApp to render law enforcement or other governmental officials copies of any of your communications, even if requested by warrant, because of the robustness of the encryption.
- WhatsApp is one of the most secure ways to communicate electronically via the end-to-end encryption.
The ultimate outcome of the latest update is a powerful security for WhatsApp users, and possibly a template that could be applied to other services working ahead. Open Whisper’s protocol states that over a billion monthly active users across the world are now using the Signal Protocol for end to end encryption. The new update is rolled out to all the WhatsApp users on various mobile platforms including Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows and others. Check out whether your WhatsApp messaging app has got this latest update!