Encryption is a vital tool in helping keep your messages tucked away from prying eyes. Trying to stay safe while texting, though, meant also being siloed into effective-yet-niche chat platforms such as Silent Circle. But today, WhatsApp will start bringing end-to-end encryption to its 600 million users.
The new security feature is a default setting in WhatsApp's new update for Android (with iOS coming soon). As The Verge mentions, this would be the largest implementation of end-to-end encryption ever. WhatsApp's security partner Open WhisperSystems confirms the feature.
What makes end-to-end encryption the safest option over the alternatives is that it only gives security keys to the two people who are involved in a chat, meaning even if WhatsApp was pressured to hand over data, they literally have no way of decrypting your convo. We've reached out to WhatsApp for more info regarding this new feature.
Open WhisperSystems is a company built from open source contributors and a dedicated team to advance "state of the the art" secure communication, according to their website. Until now, they've mainly done this through secure texting apps for Android and iPhone such as RedPhone and TextSecure. Now, the developers are applying their knowledge from TextSecure to make texting actually private.