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Users of the instant messaging service WhatsApp will now benefit from more secure conversations, after the company announced it has turned on full end-to-end encryption.
The Facebook-owned company announced that all messages, including texts, calls, videos, voice messages, and files, will be end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning that anyone other than the sender and recipient(s) will not be able to access them.
“Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us,” the company said in a company blog.
The founders of WhatsApp, which today serves more than a billion users around the world, described the desire to protect people’s private communication as one of their “core beliefs”.
“Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen,” the statement went on to say.
“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.”
As reported by Wired, WhatsApp worked with a renowned coder and cryptographer to implement the change, who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike.
Although the company began adding encryption to its service in 2013, it redoubled its efforts a year later when it was contacted by the encryption expert.
Marlinspike is the founder of Open Whisper, an open-source software project that works with messaging services to provide encryption.
The cryptographer is also a former head of security at Twitter and the author of the Convergence SSL authentication system.
WhatsApp’s decision to add end-to-end encryption comes at contentious time, following Apple’s well-documented legal battle with the FBI over access to an iPhone carried by attackers in last year’s San Bernardino shooting.
The Independent newspaper noted that WhatsApp’s founders had publicly supported Apple’s decision to protect the privacy of its users.
As reported by WeLiveSecurity, some of the most prominent companies in tech have joined the cause by pursuing the development of tougher encryption technologies.
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security