WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging app which is now owned by social media giant, Facebook. Recently, it had taken further steps to giving better verification and forward secrecy standards. Apple’s iMessage should take note and should stir things up a bit.
WhatsApp Brings Better Forward Secrecy and Verification
WhatsApp now gains the upper hand on Apple’s iMessage, well, at least when it comes to providing better privacy and secrecy. It should be noted that Apple’s security and encryption strategies are receiving a lot of attention as of late, but not the good kind though. The iMessage app does not have the encryption keys and it does not also have data locked down somewhere. While still on the subject of Apple users’ privacy concerns, FaceTime systems also employ its users’ communications to how Secure Enclave can really do a good job at keeping secrets, well, a secret.
The WhatsApp app, on the other hand, took the center stage as they recently launched an end-to-end encryption for its users that will go along with the app’s own security and privacy measures. With this, the app now gains a great advantage over what Apple can muster for its iMessage and FaceTime apps.
Even though Apple messaging app as well as WhatsApp could not gain access to the encryption keys that are used to secure communications sessions, it is with the latter mobile application that went farther. The impact as to what the popular messaging app (not the Apple one) did is broad. This is because apps are available across all major platforms (and some minor). Furthermore, it is used on smartphones found in multiple markets, from low-end to higher-end ones. This particular messaging app is one of the direct competitors to the Apple’s iMessage, even though both apps can work within an iOS device.
Since WhatsApp made a move forward with regards to Forward Secrecy, do note that this topic is extremely important with regards to any cryptographic system. What it does is it creates new keys that all parties within the message or chat room will agree to use on a frequent basis as they will also destroy older. Therefore, any intercepted “ciphertext” would be far more difficult to unscramble. Hence, if a snooper were to be reading in on what is being said inside the chat room, it would still make the messages extremely difficult to read because of the better security measures.