Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

Howdy Reader,

Many of us might be confused and wondering about the new security feature which WhatsApp has released recently. So thought of writing an article and sharing the secrets behind WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.

They say – “Privacy and security is in our DNA, which is why we have end-to-end encryption in the latest versions of our app. When end-to-end encrypted, your messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, and calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands“.

So finally, WhatsApp has implemented end-to-end encryption in order to secure our messages, photos, videos, voice notes etc. Which is really cool 🙂

End-to-end encryption is available when both (sender & receiver) are on the latest versions of WhatsApp. Click To Tweet
Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only sender (you) and receiver (the person you’re communicating with) can read what is sent. None other in between, not even WhatsApp will be able to read what you sent.

  • Your messages are secured with a lock.
  • Only you and the recipient have the special key using which you can unlock and read your message.
  • For added protection, every message you send has a unique lock and key.

All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.

Note: There is no way to turn off end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption is always activated, if all parties are using the latest version of WhatsApp.

What is the “Verify security code” screen in my Contact info/Group info?

Each of your chats has its own security code used to verify that your calls and the messages you send to that chat are end-to-end encrypted.

Note: The verification process is optional and is used only to confirm that the messages you send are end-to-end encrypted.

Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

QR Code

This code can be found in the contact info/group info screen, both as a QR code and a 60-digit number. These codes are unique to each chat and can be compared between people in each chat to verify that the messages you send to the chat are end-to-end encrypted. Security codes are just visible versions of the special key shared between you – and don’t worry, it’s not the actual key itself, that’s always kept secret.

To verify that a chat is end-to-end encrypted…

    1. Open the chat.
    2. Tap on the name of the contact or group to open the contact info/group info screen.
    3. Tap Encryption to view the QR code and 60-digit number.
Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

QR code & 60-digit number

Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

Contact near

If you and your contact are physically next to each other…

  • One of you can scan the other’s QR code or visually compare the 60-digit number.
  • If you scan the QR code, and the code is indeed the same, a green check mark will appear.
  • Since they match, you can be sure no one is intercepting your messages or calls.

If the codes do not match, it’s likely you’re scanning the code of a different contact or a different phone number. If your contact has recently reinstalled WhatsApp or switched devices, we recommend you refresh the code by sending them a new message and then scanning the code.

Learn more about security codes changing in this FAQ article.

Secret Behind WhatsApp-End-to-End Encryption

Contact  away

If you and your contact are not physically near each other…

  • You can send them the 60-digit number.
  • Let your contact know that once they receive your code, they should write it down and then visually compare it to the 60-digit number that appears in the contact info screen under Encryption.
  • For Android, iPhone and Windows Phone, you can use the Share button from the QR code/60-digit number screen to send the 60-digit number via SMS, email, etc.

I’m seeing that the messages I send aren’t encrypted?

It’s possible that you tap on Encryption in the contact info/group info screen and receive a message that the messages you send are not end-to-end encrypted. If this is the case, it’s likely that you or the person you’re chatting with needs to update to the latest version of WhatsApp. Once all parties in a group, or the person you’re messaging in an individual chat, have updated to the latest version of WhatsApp, a small indicator will appear in the chat informing you that the messages in your chat are end-to-end encrypted.

UPDATE:

Why am I seeing “Waiting for this message? This may take a while.”?

At times, you may see the above message in place of what you were sent from a contact. Due to end-to-end encryption, you may need to wait for someone’s message to arrive because their phone needs to come online and properly encrypt the message for you. This can typically occur if you or the person you’re chatting with recently reinstalled WhatsApp.

To speed up this process, ask the person you’re messaging to open WhatsApp on their phone.

For more information, please read WhatsApp Security.

What do you think?

Dear Reader,
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Happy Learning!