WhatsApp app icon

WhatsApp today announced it is turning on end-to-end encryption to make it virtually impossible to eavesdrop on your communications.

Starting today, all text messages, photo and video attachments, documents, voice messages and VoIP calls are protected with full end-to-end encryption, developed in collaboration with Open Whisper Systems.

Similar to Apple’s iMessage and some other instant messaging platforms such as Telegram, end-to-end encryption makes the contents of WhatsApp chats unreadable to third-parties. And with the encryption keys stored on a user’s device, they cannot decrypt chats if served a valid government request.

After it started experimenting with end-to-end encryption a year and a half ago, this feature is now available across all mobile platforms for which WhatsApp offers apps.

“From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file and voice message you send is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats,” said WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, who grew up in Russia during communist rule.

“The fact that people couldn’t speak freely is one of the reasons my family moved to the United States,” he added.

If you’re using WhatsApp 2.16.1, the latest version available, you don’t have to do anything: end-to-end encryption is on by default and all the time. Both you and the people you message must use the latest versions of WhatsApp for encryption to work. Simply look for the lock indicator icon in contact info or group info to confirm that the calls you make and messages you send are end-to-end encrypted.

“Only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them,” explained the firm. For added protection, every message you send has its own unique lock and key. WhatsApp doesn’t store your messages on its servers once they’re delivered, which means neither them nor third parties can read them.

“All you need to know is that end-to-end encrypted messages can only be read by the recipients you intend,” said the Facebook-owned firm.

The company provides additional information about end-to-end encryption employed to protect your communications through a webpage at www.whatsapp.com/security.

“Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement,” said WhatsApp, which has more than a billion active users.

“While we recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers and rogue states.”

Source: WhatsApp



  • Connecting Mac User 

    Just spotted it few hours ago while chatting. Great move. Apple create room, others follow. P.S I didn’t say Apple invented encryption, just was not so popularly discussed until after Apple war with the FBI, just like the touch ID 🙂

    • igorsky

      Add that to the extremely long list of things that Apple makes popular that everyone follows, and then the critics follow with “Apple didn’t invent this” 🙂

    • Benedict

      WhatsApp encryption is also enabled since almost 2 years on Android devices.

      • leart

        and stagefright pre installed since 2010

      • Benedict

        Just got my April security update. Also only available for Android…

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        No it wasn’t. WhatsApp was never encrypted on any platform. If you looked at the EFF website before today, it never was encrypted.

      • Benedict

        Yes it was. Android to Android was encrypted before! You should read other sources other than your fanboy blogs before claiming stuff… same applies to your 2 upvotes.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        You call the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) a “fanboy blog”? Maybe you should avoid living under a rock and start reading credible sources. If you look at the EFF’s Messaging Security Comparison chart, WhatsApp before yesterday had no encryption whatsoever, not in any sense of the definition of “encryption.” It was open to everyone even your telecom providers. Only services like iMessage, Signal, Threema, Cryptocat, FaceTime and a few others had E2EE all across the board. Contrary to the popular saying “ignorance is bliss”…it isn’t “bliss”, it’s detrimental.

      • Benedict

        Must be, because they are not aware of the encryption. Check verge, wired, golem, arstechnica etc… It was encrypted since Nov. 2014 on Android-2-Android devices. I can’t give links because it does get moderated by some strange reasons!? so you have to google yourself kid…

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        I don’t see the Verge, Wired, Golem or Arstechnica filing for amicus briefs in support of Apple for the right to digital privacy. They’re tech sites, sometimes even sensationalised journalism, nothing totally objective, opinion pieces and nothing more. The EFF’s whole life’s work is all about digital privacy, freedom of expression, civil liberties in the digital age, etc. (don’t really need to give a synopsis on the EFF I’m sure you’ve heard about them, if not then might I also give the same suggestion and you also use Google yourself?). They have actual experts who look into these matters, they don’t just engage in a few interviews and write op-eds, they know what they’re talking about. And WhatsApp had NO E2EE or any kind of encryption in the slightest before yesterday. Also, supposedly adding it just now just already confirms that they already have a way in.

      • Benedict

        What the hell are you talking about!? Links got moderated – read them, admit you was wrong and don’t talk nonsense!

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        I know links are moderated. Not what I’m referring to. No point in arguing with somebody who sites the Verge a credible source when it comes to security and privacy. If we should be looking to sites like the Verge as a credible source for privacy and security, then we should look to Fox News for a balanced news broadcast of the world.

      • Benedict

        Then click the link to Open Whisper Systems which officially announced the partnership with Whatsapp themselves and confirmed the encryption for Android devices!!!

        Typos are your last argument or what? The sentence was edited smartass..
        Wir können aber auch gerne in deutsch weiter diskutieren…

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        This is a recent partnership, WhatsApp is now E2EE because of Open Whisper System’s encryption protocols, this is news, not old news. In fact when the revelations that the NSA was spying on U.S allies particularly in Europe, it was the German Bundestag that advised its citizens against using WhatsApp and to go for more secure options like Open Whisper System’s Signal/Redphone or Threema. I’d post a link but, you know, moderation.

        Ou bien ont peut toujours discuter en français si ça te plaît. L’anglais n’est pas la seul option. À toi de décider.

        Или може да разговараме на Кирилица, дали сакате.

        او باللغة العربية
        … …

      • Benedict

        – That’s incorrect – the partnership is from 18 Nov 2014!
        – Whatsapp was not determined to be secure, because of iOS devices which did not use the encryption! It could not be distinguished if you talk to an iOS or android device by the user.

        You can’t ignore this announcement.


  • askep3

    Haven’t they had end to end encryption fir a year or so now?

    • 5723alex .


    • Mr_Coldharbour

      Far from it. No.

    • Benedict

      Yes, but only between Android devices.

  • You mean it wasn’t already? Damn! I need to hide, leave the country or something! Anyone do dodgy passports?

  • Jackson Grong

    Suuuuure it is

  • leart

    wow, finally

  • Bill

    Security from facebook? I am skeptical, to say the least.

    • Jackson Grong

      They probably have a way in, your information is literally their business.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        Now they have you in their pockets more than when they didn’t have it. FB is an advertising company, your data and info is their bread and butter, without it they won’t exist.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Big deal, services like iMessage, Signal/RedPhone, Threema (you can even lock the app with TouchID & Passcode) and others have had E2EE (end-to-end encryption) since they very first launched, with encryption being their primary goal/objective/focus. This is supposed to change my opinion about WhatsApp/Facebook? It’s a Facebook-owned company, money through popularity is their only objective and will always be. When trusted services like the ones mentioned launched with encryption and privacy as their only/primary goal, WhatsApp and the like didn’t even bother and your communications were open even to telecom providers and who knows who else. Now they suddenly/supposedly/allegedly followed suit now it’s supposed be reassuring? I’ll never trust that company. Glad I’m not part of that Facebook ecosystem.

    • Jackson Grong

      If a Facebook company voluntarily enabled end to end encryption it probably means they have a way in.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        Exactly. Your data and information is their business, without it and they’ll cease to exist.

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