Understand : What is WhatsApp Encryption

Some days agone, WhatsApp introduced the long hoped-for end-to-end encryption to all users. we detected the method has been going on for a while now , with Android-to-Android messages encrypted; currently the encryption feature has reached almost each WhatsApp user out there, no matter their mobile platform though one has to be running the most recent version of WhatsApp to be enjoying its advantages. WhatsApp has stated that out-of-date versions of its consumer can expire over time, so which means that, in due course, nearly everybody are going to be running a version supporting end-to-end encryption.

A number of existing chat applications offer end-to-end encrypted communications, as well as Threema, Signal and Wickr. so it was quite weird to listen to that WhatsApp (probably the most popular IM app) still hadn’t implemented it yet till recently.
To some individuals this might all sound like jargon.

  1. What's this encryption?, 
  2. Why implement it? 
  3. Why use it? 
  4. Is it that essential? 
  5. How will this have an effect on the me? 
We hope to explore this and more over the course of this article.

Encryption is the act of encoding data during a manner that results in only licensed parties having the ability to browse it. encryption doesn’t stop somebody intercepting the data, but stops the interceptor having the ability to look at the content. In essence, an encrypted message will only be control by people who have access to the key. Provided this key is properly unbroken secret, your messages are secure. In end-to-end encryption, this key is only accessible to the parties in the chat, and it’s not exposed outside of their devices, rendering the messages unreadable to anybody else.

With end-to-end encryption, nobody will have access to your chats, except you and the sender – even WhatsApp themselves. Users should be rest assured that all their chats are currently private, more like a face-to-face conversation. to explain this further, here’s an excerpt from WhatsApp legal page:

Messages between WhatsApp users are protected with an end-to-end encryption protocol in order that third parties and WhatsApp cannot browse them and then that the messages can only be decrypted by the recipient. every type of WhatsApp messages (including chats, group chats, images, videos, voice messages and files) and WhatsApp calls are protected by end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp servers don't have access to the private keys of WhatsApp users, and WhatsApp users have the option to verify keys in order to confirm the integrity of their communication.

The content of actual messages are encrypted and can't be browse in transit through WhatsApp’s servers, but data like date and time of communication, and the parties involved during a conversation are still accessible. all these may be categorized under metadata and may be created available for government and security agencies to access whenever the need arises. Funnily, this is even what they may be interested in.

To further clarify, the metadata can be used to reveal the following:

  • Whom a particular user communicated with,
  • When they did the communication,
  • How often they communicated,
  • Where the communicating parties were located when the conversation occurred. (Probably possible if location is turned ON).

“WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information related to successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved in the messages, as well as any other info that WhatsApp is legally compelled to collect.”

That being said, when the encrypted communication, the process continues to be in doubt as a result of most of the endpoint devices aren't encrypted. several iPhones are, but different smartphones, tablets etc, running android or different operating systems don't have encryption enabled. looking at another angle, it’s not simply encrypting to keep data secure. currently that we've seen the leverage Facebook/WhatsApp still retains over user info, it is now totally down to them. To what extent will they go to protect customers when faced with a court order? It also appears that, for WhatsApp cluster chats, the encryption won’t work unless everyone in the group updates to the most recent version of the app. Even pdf sharing won’t work until the same condition are met.

Encryption has come to stay as far as internet communications is concerned. In fact, it has become a fundamental right for people to have their communications kept private and secure while online. the big question is : how much do we trust the people handling the servers and infrastructure powering our communications?

Do you trust WhatsApp with your metadata? Are there any encryption experts in the house to explain things better for us? Do you think the WhatsApp encryption move was necessary? Leave a comment below!

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