WhatsApp has introduced end-to-end encryption for all messages, calls and media sent through it for all its users, across device platforms.
"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," founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, said on WhatsApp's blog. "[W]hen you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us."
The messages are encrypted by the app at the sender's end and decrypted by the app only at the receiver's end. This effectively means that the messages shared are as secure as whispering something into a person's ear.
The popular messaging app is used by over a billion people around the world, and ranks second in social media usage, after Facebook, WhatsApp's parent company.
"The desire to protect people's private communication is one of the core beliefs we have at WhatsApp, and for me [Koum], it's personal. I grew up in the U.S.S.R. during communist rule and the fact that people couldn't speak freely is one of the reasons my family moved to the United States," the WhatsApp co-founder said in the post.
WhatsApp, however, isn't the first in the tech space to make such a move. Google recently announced its intention to boost encryption across its products. The company had introduced the use of HTTPS for Gmail. HTTPS is the secure version of hypertext transfer protocol, the protocol that defines how data is sent across the web.