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Microsoft Rolls Out End-to-End Encryption in Skype

Skype users on the latest version of the messaging application can now take full advantage of end-to-end encryption in their conversations, Microsoft says.

Skype users on the latest version of the messaging application can now take full advantage of end-to-end encryption in their conversations, Microsoft says.

Rolled out under the name of Private Conversations, the feature was initially introduced for a few Skype users in January this year, as preview, and is now available in the latest version of Skype on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android (6.0+). It started arriving on desktops a couple of weeks ago.

Private Conversations, which takes advantage of the industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems, secures text chat messages and audio calls, along with any files the conversation partners share over Skype (including photo, audio, and video files).

 Skype has been long using TLS (transport-level security) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to encrypt messages in transit, but the addition of end-to-end encryption adds an extra layer of privacy.

Now, not only are the conversation channels secured, but also are all of the transmitted messages kept encrypted when on Microsoft’s servers, meaning that they are only accessible to those engaged in the conversation.

Private Conversations, however, can only be accessed on one device at a time, the software giant reveals.

To take advantage of the feature, users simply need to tap or click on New Chat and then select Private Conversation. Next, they need to select the contacts they want to start the private conversation with, and these will receive a notification asking them to accept the invitation.

Once a contact accepts the invitation, the private conversation is available on the devices the invitation was sent from/accepted on.

One can also start a private conversation with a contact they are already chatting with.

Users can also delete private conversations, meaning that all of the content will be erased from the device. They can then pick up the conversation again, without having to send a new invitation.

Related: Microsoft Brings End-to-End Encryption to Skype

Related: Microsoft Finally Hides IP Addresses by Default in Skype

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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