Skype adds e2e encrypted 'private chats' powered by Signal Protocol

Skype displaying a Private Conversation acceptance screen

Skype adds e2e encrypted 'private chats' powered by Signal Protocol

Microsoft is using the Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems to secure the data and for now, you can only use this feature with contacts that are participating in the Skype Insider Preview. It could also make Skype a strong tool for remote workers who regularly need to discuss sensitive issues with colleagues.

The new feature will be powered by the Signal Protocol and is available for preview to Skype Insiders now. The company has started testing end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text messaging and image, audio and video file transmission.

The use of Private Conversations is limited to chat on a single device at a time. 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.

While a host of consumer chat and calling products utilize end-to-end encryption, Skype using the technology could make it a better option for Microsoft shops operating in highly-regulated markets. "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".

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Skype's incoming end-to-end protection, dubbed Private Conversations, safeguards audio calls, text messages and shared files.

Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now. However, the end-to-end goes a step further than this by encrypting stored messages as well. A lock icon will appear next to a contact's name to show that a conversation is encrypted.

The encryption will not be a default on Skype; users will have to select it every time they want to have a conversation that they wish to keep private. What would happen if you forget to enter "Private Conversations"?

For now, Private Conversations with end-to-end encryption is available only to Skype Insider testers using Skype 8.13.76.8 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac and Windows Desktop.

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