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giftedviz.com December 17, 2018


Skype now testing end-to-end encryption for conversations

12 January 2018, 12:25 | Ross Houston

EnlargeSkype

EnlargeSkype

Private Conversations will encrypt Skype audio calls and text messages. You can become a Skype Insider to get access here. So, Skype will use industry standard Signal Protocol from Open Whisper Systems for end-to-end encryption. Once the contact accepts your invite, the Private Conversation will be available to you only on that specific device.

A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name, and preview messages will not show up in Chats or notifications. You can not pick up a Private Conversation from a different device; you will have to repeat the process from the very beginning. Its development is headed by dreadlocked computer security guru Moxie Marlinspike at Whisper Systems, and the code is endorsed by the likes of Edward Snowden and Bruce Schneier. WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger all let you choose between encrypted and non-encrypted messaging threads, providing the best of both worlds.

Skype is rolling out a new feature soon. That doesn't mean this data can't be intercepted in other ways, of course, but it's still more secure than most methods of online chat. Notably, features like editing a message or file forwarding are now not available on Private Conversations.

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But then came the Snowden disclosures, and it turned out that things at Skype were not as they seemed. What it does is provide a venue for users to communicate privately in a chat that's protected from any type of surveillance or tampering.

Microsoft will be using the Signal open-source protocol to encrypt these communications. Microsoft adds that "these interactions are limited to one-to-one conversations". Those who really want secure communications should probably just cut out the middleman, and install Signal's app. WhatsApp was one of the first major messaging apps to enable it two years ago, but a group of German researchers recently uncovered several potentially serious flaws in WhatsApp group messaging that could be exploited to add new members to the encrypted chat without authentication.



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