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WhatsApp encrypting:Here are things you need to know

WhatsApp encrypting:Here are things you need to know

The App

The end-to-end encryption is
available when you and the people you message are using the latest versions of
the app. That means you BOTH need to have updated the app.

It happens automatically

You won’t need to turn on any
settings or set up ‘secret chats’. So long as you’ve completed the above, this
should all happen automatically.

It’s not just messages

It won’t only secure your
messages. Videos, photos even calls and group chats sent over Whatsapp will get
the end-to-end encyrption to ensure third parties can’t listen in.

No Storage

To add to the privacy level,
WhatsApp has said it won’t store your messages on its servers once they are
delivered. Because of end-to-end encryption WhatsApp and third parties can’t
read them anyway.

Every message has a lock

Your messages are secured with
their very own unique lock and key. But what does this mean? Basically that
only you and the person you’re sending the message to have the special key
needed to unlock the message and read it.

Double-check

You may have already seen this
message pop up:

This is because WhatsApp lets you check whether the calls you make and messages
you send are indeed end-to-end encrypted. Simply look for the indicator in
contact info or group info.

Why did they do it

So the question begs, why did Whatsapp go down this route? The
Facebook-owned mobile application with one billion users worldwide made the
announcement following weeks of intense debate over efforts by US authorities
to compel Apple to help break into an encrypted iPhone.

The move has been criticised

Not everyone is happy with Whatsapp encryption. It has unleashed criticism
in law enforcement circles claiming this creates “warrant-proof”
spaces for criminals and others. US Congress is expected to consider
legislation which would require technology firms to retain “keys”
that could retrieve data in a criminal investigation, with a court order.
Similar measures are under consideration in Britain and France.

But others welcomed it

A broad coalition of technology
companies and activists have argued against any encryption rules that would allow
“special access” for law enforcement, claiming these would be
vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers or repressive governments.
Tanya O’Carroll of Amnesty International welcomed the move, calling it “a
major boost for people’s ability to express themselves and communicate without
fear.” 
 
 

How WhatsApp encryption will affect you

 

Here is how it will affect you:
 
Messages
Nobody (not even WhatsApp) will be
able to access your messages. If you lose your phone, WhatsApp doesn’t store
your messages on their servers.
 
Privacy
Your calls, photos and videos are
free from prying eyes. This means that while no-one can see your messages, you
should still be aware that malicious third party apps that can record audio and
screen shots can lift your data from your phone.
WhatsApp has enabled a security
setting which allows you to receive notifications when a contact’s security
code has changed, but it’s turned off by default.
 
Migration
You can still move your account to a
new phone or new number, but for a number, you have to ensure that it’s changed
on your old phone.
 
Backup
Because of the new policy, backups
of your messages will be directed to your Google Drive account over Wi-Fi by
default. You can also manually backup your data.
 
Sharing chats
You can still send chats via email
and but be aware that the emailed chat is saved in plain text, making it
vulnerable to criminals.
 
Photos and video
Despite the encryption, WhatsApp
images and video will still show up in your phone’s galleries. You can hide
them on some phones by using the show/hide albums button. You can also use a
File Explorer and create a .nomedia file in the WhatsApp images folder on your
phone to hide them.
 
 

Encryption is the scrambling of
messages from the sender on their journey to the recipient, largely to
discourage the interception and reading of those messages by other parties.
This concept dates back thousands of
years to coded written message sending, but now, modern forms of communication
can be encrypted automatically with complex coding.
 
Thanks to the smartphone revolution,
we now send and receive an awful lot more data between devices. All this data,
be it voice calls, text messages or mobile data, is managed by whichever
service provider whose service you are using. Whether or not this data is
encrypted varies depending on the policy of the company providing the service.
 
For example, voice calls and text
messages are handled by your mobile operator. This operator also provides your
3G or 4G connection to the Internet on your smartphone, but they don’t encrypt
all the services you use.
 

If you tend to message via WhatsApp
rather than text message, your mobile operator is not responsible for encrypting
that WhatsApp data – it merely provides you with your connection to the wider
Internet, the connection that allows apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and
Twitter to send messages all over the world. 

Gurjit Singh is Microsoft Certified IT Professional. He likes to write about Computer Network, WordPress, Blogging Tips, SEO, Make Money Online, Computer Tips and Creating Tech Tutorials.
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