Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

Signal >> Blog >> Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

Signal >> Blog >> Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

Microsoft is partnering with encrypted communications app Signal on a new end-to-end encrypted messaging feature called Private Conversations. What it does is provide a venue for users to communicate privately in a chat that's protected from any type of surveillance or tampering.

Microsoft has announced that end-to-end encrypted conversations are coming to Skype. Full encryption covers audio messages, text chat and files but is not implemented for standard audio and video calling. That means that a conversation started on a phone can't be continued from a laptop, for instance, due to the nature of Signal's encryption protocol.

"At Signal, our goal is to make private communication simple and ubiquitous", Joshua Lund, Signal's community manager, wrote in a blog post.

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Open Whisper Systems confirmed the partnership, which adds Skype to several other popular messaging apps that already leverage the encrypted messaging protocol. Private Conversations according to Microsoft, are only available now to Skype Insiders using Skype version 8.13.76.8 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.

Tap or click the + icon.

Skype users can start a Private Conversation by tapping on the + icon followed by New Private Conversation. This invitation is valid for 7 days. You can only participate in a private conversation from a single device at a time.

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To try it out, Microsoft recommends that you simply select "New Private Conversation" from the app's Compose menu or from the recipient's profile. Take note that the feature is device-specific.

Microsoft also clarified that you can't edit a message or forward files within a Private Conversation. That for me isn't the right way to go about securing a chat conversation. It only works with one-to-one chats at this stage - so video calls and group chats remain unencrypted. Therefore, users will only be able to use it in one-on-one conversations. But this isn't the same as end-to-end encryption.

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