One Billion WhatsApp Users are now protected by End-to-End Encryption

Pierluigi Paganini April 06, 2016

Whatsapp now implements end-to-end encryption for all versions of the most popular messaging and voice calling application.

Great news for privacy advocates and WhatsApp users, the software now implements end-to-end encryption for all versions of the most popular messaging and voice calling application. On Tuesday, the company announced the significant improvement to its 1 billion users with a blog post and also published a white paper the technical details for its end-to-end encryption system.

“WhatsApp has always prioritized making your data and communication as secure as possible. And today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve completed a technological development that makes WhatsApp a leader in protecting your private communication: full end-to-end encryption.” states the company blog post.

The paper highlights that the encryption protocol implements by Whatsapp uses perfect forward secrecy, this means that “even if encryption keys from a user’s device are ever physically compromised, they cannot be used to go back in time to decrypt previously transmitted messages.”

It was a necessary improvement to improve the privacy and security of its users.

“We live in a world where more of our data is digitized than ever before,” explained Jan Koum, a WhatsApp co-founder.”Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen. And if nothing is done, more of people’s digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come. Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities.”

WhatsApp uses the Axolotl protocol, aka known as Signal protocol or double ratchet that is a key management algorithm developed by Trevor Perrin with support from Moxie Marlinspike in 2013. The protocol is also used by the popular Signal encrypted messaging and voice app.

“As of today, the integration is fully complete. Users running the most recent versions of WhatsApp on any platform now get full end to end encryption for every message they send and every WhatsApp call they make when communicating with each other. This includes all the benefits of the Signal Protocol — a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocolfor asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible.” Moxie wrote on its blog.

whatsappcomplete end-to-end encryption

From now every message, file, photo, video, and voice and chat message user sends, is end-to-end encrypted by default.

In November 2014, WhatsApp implemented the encryption by default on Android OS with the collaboration of the Open Whisper company announcing the plan to extend it to all the other platforms, that is exactly what the company have done.

The implementation was applauded by privacy advocates and civil libertarians, including the popular Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union.


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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption)

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