In an important security update, WhatsApp has announced that it’s turning on encryption by default for all its users. The update adds another significant tier of security to user information, thus helping it protect user privacy and info at times when Government’s are leaning to snoop more on their subjects.
The move comes even as corporations are increasingly finding themselves on the wrong end of unwonted intrusions by hackers, cyber criminals and sometimes even the governments. Well, WhatsApp is having none of it anymore.
Speaking on the update, the company said,
The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private — sort of like a face-to-face conversation.
Remark upon the “not even us” part. The company seems to be taking precautions against a situation where it can be coerced to inquire into information associated to its users — something which happened with Apple recently, in a very high-profile case.
WhatsApp touched on the topic briefly in a post.
Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement. While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states.
Encryption is gaining traction, not only amongst major corporations and governments, but also for social media and messaging services who are often privy to their users deepest secrets.
The default portion is remarkable too. While other apps such as Telegram, require you to turn the feature on, WhatsApp has it on by default. The service was developed in collaboration with Open Whisper systems.
Considering the 1 Billion users on WhatsApp, encryption was a must. It’s good to see the company bringing the feature for its users soon. Meanwhile, you can access the feature by updating your WhatsApp to the latest version from the Play Store.