If you are an avid WhatsApp user, you surely noticed the recent encryption disclaimer following one of your recently sent messages. But what does this notification actually mean?
This encryption secures chats between the sender and recipient, making them absolutely inaccessible to external parties – whether that’s hackers or other uninvited guests. It also passes the idea, to all mobile app users, that Facebook, owner of this popular messaging service, is actually taking a major stance on consumer’s privacy. The timing of this implementation is quite interesting, considering all the recent events regarding the debate between the FBI’s claim for the need to access the information inside the iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters – a debate that was also about user privacy.
In any way, security concerns transcend this major case, as it’s an issue related to espionage, client trust issues, private exchanges between individuals, and the highly legalistic nature of the American business environment (ex. business confidential material exchanged). People in general are keen on protecting their private assets, from credit card data to messaging with one of their contacts. The highly discussed WhatsApp example does serve to remind us all that, despite all these concerns, app security has been prioritized as a critical issue within the consumer market. This makes sense, especially when considering the amount of apps created by amateur developers without consideration for the privacy of users and the security of personal data.
According to Tony Pepper, CEO of Egress Software Technologies, making encryption “the norm” will go a long way in reducing IT resistance from other potential adopters, as well as encourage employees to push for the same sense of security across other work-related tools, thereby creating “a safer data sharing environment for everyone“.