WhatsApp starts encrypting messages to thwart hackers

San Francisco, Nov 19 (IANS/EFE): WhatsApp, the world's most widely used instant messaging service, has started encrypting messages to protect them from hackers, said Open Whisper Systems, a software development group associated with the company.

With the encryption, messages exchanged between users will be encrypted by default with a password so that only the senders and the receivers will be able to read them.

Until now, any hacker could intercept communications made on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and acquire information.

In a statement Tuesday, Open Whisper Systems, which developed the encryption software, announced that messages of users of Android devices with the latest version of WhatsApp are already being encrypted and that the process will gradually be applied to other platforms.

However, multimedia messages or those sent in group conversations with more than two people involved have not yet been encrypted.

WhatsApp, which currently has over 600 million users, now joins other major high-tech companies like Google and Apple which have also announced improvements of their security systems to prevent hackers from accessing the data that users share.


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