In the past few weeks several companies have implemented full end-to-end encryption systems on their platforms, WhatsApp and Viber.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is used by over a billion people around the world and the addition of end-to-end encryption is a massive leap forward for the protection of your personal privacy.
Viber, a popular mobile messaging app, which includes video, voice and text chat has over 700 million registered users.
End-to-End Encryption is a big leap forward in protecting your communications because it removes the ability of the company to comply with any court order that demands access to the content of your messages on its service.
Recently in the news we all watched as the FBI and Apple duke it out in court about bypassing or unlocking a phone used by a terrorist in the US – This type of move removes the ability of the company to compile with such requests because the encryption happens from device to device, not storing a “plaintext” version of your message in the hands of the company.
As more and more companies start to implement strong encryption in their applications and platforms we are seeing an increase in the rhetoric from government officials coming out against encryption, under the guise of national security. The governments want backdoors or the ability to unlock the encryption for the purposes of surveillance and monitoring, but of course the introduction of any backdoor for one country would ultimately lead gaping security holes as other nations break the backdoor security.
We are definitely living in interesting times, government and media put so much spin and scare in to the population over IT Security, Hacking and Exploits that there has been people likening the current state to cold war era warmongering.
Simple Definition of End-to-End Encryption
End-to-End encryption is a method of communicating where by only the parties directly involved can read the messages.
This means no eavesdroppers can access read the messages while it is in transit, because only the sender and recipient have the security keys. So while the message may pass through your wireless plan provider, ISP, the company that made the software, and other services en-route, it can actually only be opened by the final recipient.