Microsoft and Signal team up to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype
As an extra layer of security, Skype has released a preview of end-to-end encrypted “Private Conversations.” Currently available for Skype Insiders, users will now have more protection over the content they send within conversations.
Using Open Whisper System’s Signal Protocol, Private Conversations provides end-to-end encryption for Skype audio calls, along with any text messages, images, videos, and audio you send. All content will also be hidden while on the app, so any Preview messages you send won’t show up in your Chats or notifications.
Open Whisper Systems has become the industry standard when it comes to encrypted communication. WhatsApp also worked with the organization back in 2016, to develop its own form of end-to-end encryption.
Some might even be familiar with Open Whisper’s own messaging service app called Signal, available for Android and iOS. In addition to its already existing end-to-end encrypted voice-calling and chat service, it beta tested encrypted video calls last year as well.
You can try Skype’s preview by selecting “New Private Conversation” when in the compose menu or from the profile of who you want to send the message to. The recipient will then have to accept your invite, which will specifically state the private conversation will be secured with end-to-end encryption and there will also be a lock icon next to the contact’s name.
But it’s important to note that you can only participate in a private conversation from one device at a time. This means that you can switch the conversation over to another device, but your message history won’t sync and you’ll have to resend the invitation to your contact.
When it comes to ending a Private Conversation, you’ll receive a confirmation window letting you know it has officially ended. You can also delete it the same way you would with a regular chat, and recover it by starting a Private Conversation with the same contact again.
But there are limits when it comes to your capabilities — you’re unable to edit a message or forward any files. From the chat window, you can only send files, audio messages, and emoticons.
For now, Skype is using the preview phase to gain feedback from Skype Insiders before releasing the feature to all of its users. It’s currently available on the latest version of Skype for desktop, along with iOS and Android.
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