Mountain View, Calif. – After a year and a half working on the security project, WhatsApp has now completed effective end-to-end encryption on its app across all mobile platforms on which it operates. From now on, all users of the latest versions will have their messages, voice notes, pictures, videos and phone calls fully encrypted by default.
The fully encrypted communications include group chats, attachments and voice calls across iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia S40, Nokia S60, BlackBerry, and BB10.
The content of communications between WhatsApp users will no longer be stored in plaintext on the company’s servers. Authorities cannot force the Facebook-owned firm to hand over messaging data, not even by demanding access with a warrant because the firm doesn’t hold the encryption keys and is, therefore, unable to decrypt users’ messages. That’s what end-to-end encryption implicates.
The company partnered in 2014 with Open Whisper Systems, the not-for-profit hacker collective, to implement its widely known end-to-end encryption Signal Protocol. Open Whisper Systems confirmed on Tuesday that the WhatsApp implementation is finally complete.
Being upgraded to WhatsApp’s latest version is essential
The messaging giant announced earlier this year that it had passed billion active users, but it’s important to note that not all of them will have their communications fully encrypted right away. Default end-to-end encryption will depend on all users being upgraded to the most recent version of the software.
Users will now receive a notification from the WhatsApp client regarding the encryption status of chats and they’ll see a notice in the messaging screen. Open Whisper Systems wrote in a blog post that all pre-end-to-end clients would eventually expire and new versions of the messaging service would no longer be able to accept or transmit plaintext content.
Users of the latest versions of WhatsApp will also be able to verify the authenticity of the encryption session by either scanning a QR code or reading aloud a number string in order to confirm the person they are chatting with is actually who they think it is.
Separately, Open Whisper Systems is planning to work with additional messengers over the next year, Tech Crunch reported. The group launched in March last year its own encrypted messaging app, Signal.