If you got a Whatsapp encryption notification recently that says ‘messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption’ and you are wondering what it means, this is the article for you.
Whatsapp sent a notification recently to its 1 billion users around the world stating that all chats, calls, photos, videos and files sent between both parties have been encrypted. This means that only the sender and receiver of the messages or whatever files are being shared between them can see them. Whatsapp employees, the government, hackers, cyber criminals or any other third party will not be able to see those messages.
Why The Need To Offer A Default Encryption
The Whatsapp encryption notification comes in the wake of a controversy between the FBI and Apple regarding a shooter’s iPhone which Apple has refused to unlock. The feud had several tech behemoths publicly showing their support for or against Apple’s decision not to unlock the iPhone.
Among them was Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg who told Wired, “We’re sympathetic with Apple on this one. We believe in encryption.”
It comes as no surprise that Whatsapp which was bought by Facebook for $22 billion in 2014 would take a preventive step to ensuring the same does not happen to them. By enabling the end-to-end encryption, Whatsapp employees would have no access to private chats and if a case like the Apple V FBI were to happen to Whatsapp in the future, Whatsapp could easily turn down the request for having no access to the content of the conversation.
Co-creator of Whatsapp Jan Koum, who also showed his support for Apple in their case against the FBI, backed the Whatsapp encryption. In a Facebook post he said, “We’ve been working for the past two years to give people better security over their conversations on WhatsApp. I’m proud of our team for hitting this milestone…”
Turning Off The Whatsapp Encryption
Unlike Telegram and BBM where there’s an option to turn private messages on and off, the Whatsapp encryption cannot be turned off. Anyone using the latest version of Whatsapp has their conversation encrypted by default. The feature is also available for all types of phones and operating systems running a Whatsapp.
To verify if the feature is working, tap the encryption notification. It will show a page with a series of numbers and a QR code. Use your friend’s phone to scan your QR code or the other way round. If the chat is safe, it shows a green tick, if not encrypted, it shows a red exclamation mark.