The widely-used mobile messaging application WhatsApp recently announced the implementation of end-to-end encryption, by default, in its latest version available to Android users.
The announcement on Tuesday came after a six-month collaboration with Open Whisper Systems and its open-source software called TextSecure.
The end-to-end encryption feature means a major enhancement in security for millions of users worldwide, making it nearly impossible for anyone to read the messages exchanged, including the company itself.
“The most recent WhatsApp Android client release includes support for the TextSecure encryption protocol, and billions of encrypted messages are being exchanged daily,” said Open Whisper Systems in a blog post.
The privacy-focused company noted the new capability does not yet support group chat or media messages, but plans to expand support for these features, as well as iOS in the near future.
“WhatsApp runs on an incredible number of mobile platforms, so full deployment will be an incremental process as we add TextSecure protocol support into each WhatsApp client platform,” read the blog post.
With more than 450 million users on the now Facebook-owned app, the company called the beginning stages of the rollout already “the largest deployment of end-to-end encrypted communication in history.”
According to a report by Forbes, Android users make up nearly 80 percent of the app’s massive user-base.
In addition to WhatsApp, the California-based non-profit stated it hopes to continue to provide strong encryption to other companies and services:
“We believe that by continuing to advance the state of the art for frictionless private communication with open source software, open protocols, and simple libraries, we’ll have additional opportunities to support mass adoption of end-to-end encryption.”
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