WhatsApp Encryption: Is It The Most Secure Instant Messenger Now?

WhatsApp is the most popular and widely used instant messaging application in almost all different platforms available for smartphones. The journey begins in 2009 and now there are more than 700 million users using WhatsApp as their prior instant messaging application. The second best in the list is WeChat which has almost 250 m0 million fewer users than this messaging service. Almost twelve months ago, Facebook acquired it for an investment of $19 billion. After getting acquired by Facebook, the firm has been pushed to make their security and privacy more secure which results in the latest user end encryption in WhatsApp application.

Why Encryption Needed?

In May 2011, WhatsApp started facing issues regarding their poor security. A security flaw was discovered at that time which allows the hackers to hijack the user account chat sessions. It allows hackers to get unauthorized access to the information by exploiting usage session. After this security threat, the new version was released and the issue got resolved up to some extent.

In the start of the year 2012, a new security threat alarmed the owners. There was a website named as WhatsAppStatus.net which allows people to alter anyone’s status by using that website. Many other similar tools started hacking WhatsApp messages. Thus, the company finally stop using plain text for data and replace it with Cryptographic method. In this method, the same encryption key was used at the both ends of the conversation. Anyone having enough technical skills and knowledge can decrypt all the communication within the app. This statement was claimed by the security researcher in 2013.

How WhatsApp Responds?

On 18th November 2015, the new owner of WhatsApp, Facebook decided to make this application fully secure. Because they don’t want their rivals like Tango and Viber to capture their market due to security laps. The organization has signed a partnership with Open Whisper Systems to provide end to end encryption to the users chat, pictures and videos. There was a lot of negative hype created against this application by the rivals to overcome it in the market. But they finally did something valuable for their more than 700 million users. The newly signed partner claim that they are using one of the largest encryption services like TextSecure. This service will use an encrypted key which would be unique to both individual devices. Experts and geeks are pretty much satisfied with this update and said that it is practically uncrackable.

How End-to-End Encryption Works?

Let’s start understanding how the new security feature of WhatsApp actually works. In past, the encryption keys were stored on a centralized server operated by the organization itself and its developers. But now, the keys will be stored on user device instead of storing them on their centralized server. Then it combines with TextSecure protocol, which gives a fresh key to every message. The encryption methodology which is being used by this instant messaging service is totally different from all similar messaging apps as they store the keys on their own servers instead of the user device.

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