Microsoft’s owned video calling and chat app Skype is testing its own version of end-to-end encryption feature. In conjunction with Signal, the new encryption feature will make private conversation between users secure.
“With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we’re excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol’s strong encryption properties for secure communication,” a statement on the Signal blog reads.
“With Private Conversations, you can have end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and send text messages or files like images, audio, or videos, using the industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. The content of these conversations will be hidden in the chat list as well as in notifications to keep the information you share private.
Continuing, Microsoft’s support engineer Ellen Kilbourne explains below how you can get involved:
“Give it a try by selecting “New Private Conversation” from the compose menu or from the recipient’s profile. After the recipient accepts your invite, all calls and messages in that conversation will be encrypted end-to-end until you choose to end it. You can only participate in a private conversation from a single device at a time. You can switch the conversation to any of your devices, but the messages you send and receive will be tied to the device you’re using at the time.”
The concern here for me is the fact that the feature is an opt-in one—you will have to enable it to have your conversation encrypted. That for me isn’t the right way to go about securing a chat conversation. What this means is that Skype’s end-to-end encryption is not a complete one; but kudos to Microsoft for adding it in the first place.
I thought I should also let you know that that the end-to-end encryption doesn’t extend to video chats. That said, it’s early days and the feature could get better as users start sending in their feedback.
Skype is now being listed as one of the well-known messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption. Also, in this category are Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and Telegram.
You will only be able to start private chats with other Skype Insiders running the latest version of the app during the preview. Microsoft adds that “these interactions are limited to one-to-one conversations.” Private Conversations according to Microsoft, are only available now to Skype Insiders using Skype version 220.127.116.11 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.
You can drop us a line or two if you have had the opportunity of using the new end-to-end encryption launched by Microsoft. You can share your experience with us by using the comment box below.