In the light of the recent high-profile battle between the FBI and Apple, companies are doing their best to show how much they care about privacy and data protection.
This is why we have been seeing numerous press releases whose main goal is to ensure us that our emails, messages, and files are secured. The question of security isn’t anything new, but it has reached its critical point.
Among those companies and press releases, one of the most popular messaging apps made a very important announcement. We are talking about WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned company with over a billion active users.
The messaging giant has implemented an end-to-end encryption across all mobile platforms, which means that your media and messages are safe and secured.
End-to-end encryption means that the content isn’t stored on the app’s servers, since the company no longer holds the encryption keys. This way, WhatsApp is able of accessing your private data, even if served with a warrant.
Interestingly enough, this project took around a year and a half to complete. WhatsApp has partnered with Open Whisper Systems, which is a non-profit hacker collective that is battling for safe communication. The so-called Signal Protocol is now part of the latest version of WhatsApp. What this means is that users need to upgrade to the latest version to take advantage of this feature.
Once upgraded, the application will show a notification of the encryption status of chats, which includes a notice on the messaging screen. In the meantime, if you are chatting with a user who is using an older version of WhatsApp, your messages might not be encrypted.
The key to encryption is to ensure authenticity of users. This means that WhatsApp will be able to confirm your identity by verifying a phone number, scanning a QR code, or reading aloud a number string. Since there is no way to turn this feature off, all your voice calls, texts, videos, and pictures are going to be encrypted.
The bottom line is that companies are finally aware of how important it is to keep private data safe.
However, even encrypted, data can still be accessed as the FBI showed in a request for Apple to allow access to a phone used by a terrorist. Even though Apple managed to hold off the FBI, this government agency has found its way through.
Interestingly enough, the Facebook-owned company has disclosed that it retains a huge amount of data about sent messages. The now employed method of encryption doesn’t mean that your messages will be deleted if you delete them on your phone, even though this is a step in the right direction.
Even though some are considering that WhatsApp has made a PR trick aimed at those who were afraid of using this service due to security concerns, which made a number of privacy experts to agree that there’s always a reason for concern.
Web communications are what’s upsetting privacy advocates around the world, forcing us all to think about how much of our messages and emails are truly ours. At least, WhatsApp is trying to comfort us for a while.
by WhatsApp Inc.
WhatsApp Messenger is a FREE messaging app available for iPhone and other smartphones. WhatsApp uses your phone's Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family. Switch from SMS to WhatsApp to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, and Voice Messages.
WHY USE WHATSAPP:
• NO FEES: WhatsApp uses your phone's Internet connection (4G/3G/2G/EDGE or Wi-Fi, as available) to let you message and call friends and family, so you don't have to pay for every message or call.* There are no subscription fees to use WhatsApp.
• MULTIMEDIA: Send and receive photos, videos, and Voice Messages.
• FREE CALLS: Call your friends and family for free with WhatsApp Calling, even if they're in another country.* WhatsApp calls use your phone's Internet connection rather than your cellular plan's voice minutes. (Note: Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details. Also, you can't access 911 and other emergency service numbers through WhatsApp).
• GROUP CHAT: Enjoy group chats with your contacts so you can easily stay in touch with your friends or family.
• WHATSAPP WEB: You can also send and receive WhatsApp messages right from your computer's browser.
• NO INTERNATIONAL CHARGES: There's no extra charge to send WhatsApp messages internationally. Chat with your friends around the world and avoid international SMS charges.*
• SAY NO TO USERNAMES AND PINS: Why bother having to remember yet another username or PIN? WhatsApp works with your phone number, just like SMS, and integrates seamlessly with your phone's existing address book.
• ALWAYS LOGGED IN: With WhatsApp, you're always logged in so you don't miss messages. No more confusion about whether you're logged in or logged out.
• QUICKLY CONNECT WITH YOUR CONTACTS: Your address book is used to quickly and easily connect you with your contacts who have WhatsApp so there's no need to add hard-to-remember usernames.
• OFFLINE MESSAGES: Even if you miss your notifications or turn off your phone, WhatsApp will save your recent messages until the next time you use the app.
• AND MUCH MORE: Share your location, exchange contacts, set custom wallpapers and notification sounds, email chat history, broadcast messages to multiple contacts at once, and more!
*Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details.
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Note: WhatsApp is a telephony app, so iPod and iPad are not supported devices.
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