WhatsApp Partners with Open Whisper Systems to Bring End-to-End Encryption

WhatsApp and Open Whisper Systems have partnered to bring encrypted end-to-end chats by default. The latest WhatsApp Android update already includes for the TextSecure encryption protocol for single chats, with group and media message encryption to come later, along with encryption for iOS users.

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According to Open Whisper Systems, they noted “we believe this already represents the largest deployment of end-to-end encrypted communication in history.”

Moxie Marlinspike, co-founder of Open Whisper Systems, told the New York Times “This level of privacy has typically only been found in smaller, specialty security-focused software, so it’s exciting to see it happen on this scale.”

Encryption would be enabled by default so users don’t have to do anything. WhatsApp won’t be able to read your messages and if someone intercepts your chats, they won’t be able to read them either without a decryption key.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum previously detailed how he values private communication, as he was born in Ukraine and grew up in the USSR during the 1980s, reiterated in a company blog post from this spring after Facebook acquired the company.

The top comment on the Whisper Systems blog questions whether WhatsApp can be trusted since it is owned by Facebook, and a theory questioning if a backdoor could be implemented to gain data from users. When asked about the possibility of a Facebook backdoor, Marlinspike refused to speculate on the issue to the New York Times.

Apple’s iMessage already uses end-to-end encryption for messages, however data is still backed up to the company’s servers.