Exploring WhatsApp’s End-To-End Encryption Features
16th of May, 2016
WhatsApp, a popular data-based messaging platform, announced that the most recent app update begins the company’s movement toward improved security measures. So what’s the catch? Hidden costs? A premium membership? No to all of the above––this is one of the easiest security upgrades yet. All you do is update!
With the majority of the modern world maintaining an online presence, Internet security has become an important feature of daily life. With the recent WhatsApp encryption add-on update, we can rest (a little) easier knowing our conversations aren’t being intercepted. Encryption is crucial in today’s world, and with the settings available on the newly updated WhatsApp we can now know when someone switches phones, or if someone has stolen your friend’s SIM card. With the flip of a switch, you can know when someone may not be who they say they are.
A quick tap on the “settings” icon at the bottom right of the screen for iPhones (or three dots in the top right for android) while in WhatsApp leads to account security. By swiping right on the toggle for “show security notifications” you are ready to go and will be notified if a friend’s SIM card is in a new device.
We aren’t done yet though; we can enhance our WhatsApp security even further. Next time you find yourself speaking with a friend in person take a few quick moments to fortify your next mobile interaction. Open a conversation with your friend and tap on the name at the very top of your screen. You will be taken to a new contact window near the end of this page: before relevant shared groups is a button for “encryption.” Tapping on this will provide you with a unique QR-code along with a 60 digit decimal code (yes, you read that right) that translates the QR code. Below is a link for you to be able to scan your friend’s code and verify that you do indeed have the same code, unique to your conversation.
Although, in order to scan you must have given WhatsApp permissions to access your camera. If you haven’t, all you have to do is go to your phone’s settings and allow access via the app. With these few simple adjustments, your WhatsApp conversations are now much more secure. Moving forward, working through this process with with each of your WhatsApp contacts and group members when you connect with them will only enhance the security of your conversations.
On the matter of groups, you may have an insecure line through them if a friend hasn’t yet updated their WhatsApp application. How can we check? Easy. Go to the group conversation, tap on group info (like before you will see a button again for “encryption”), and you will be greeted with either one of two messages stating that you are, indeed, safe,
or that the conversation is not encrypted because some members have not updated yet. A list of members who have not updated will also be presented in this message and you can take a moment to inform them about the importance of private communication.
With every little step, you and the WhatsApp community are safer.
About Baiju Patel
I want to participate in growing the global tech village, but at the same time, I want to ensure it can happen in a safe environment.