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End-to-end encryption for one billion WhatsApp users now active

It has been a year in the development and implementation, but Open Whisper Systems when they announced their partnership with WhatsApp they became committed to integrating the Signal Protocol into their product, with the aim of full end to end encryption for all of their users by default.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook had in any one month has more than one billion users and have announced that they have turned on the Signal Protocol, by default. Users will now find that group chats, attachments, voice notes, and voice calls that are made across WhatsApp on Android, iPhone, Windows devices and some Nokia and BlackBerry models, will be protected, so although users can see the content, it will not allow service providers to access it.

Many believe that there could be problems in store, already Apple are in debate with the FBI over unlocking a terrorist’s phone; Apple got the backing from Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s co-founder, saying that he admired “efforts to protect user data” however, WhatsApp themselves have been the target of court orders requesting the need to access information it holds.

WhatsApp Messenger is an app which allows people to exchange messages without incurring charges for SMS and can be used on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia, all have the ability using the app to message each other. They can, in addition to basic messaging, also create groups send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

There will be a time quite soon when all the pre end to end encryption users will find that the new software will not accept or transmit plain text messages. The encrypted messages can only be read by scanning a QR code or reading a code aloud, designed to ensure messages are being sent and received by the correct users.

The project involved fifteen engineers and naturally involved many challenges, but now we have a situation were different phone platforms such as S40, Blackberry or Windows can message each other in an encrypted manner.

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