First, what does End-to-End Encryption mean? It means encrypting communications to make information unavailable to third parties. So when two or more devices communicate via an app that features this level of encryption, the data will be transmitted using a secret code rather than insecure plain text. As a result, only the people communicating can read the messages and no other person; not even Internet service providers, the app maker, the government or anyone else. The data is protected against tampering, surveillance, cybercriminals while it’s transmitted and stored. The encryption key is stored locally, for improved protection. For users, end-to-end encryption provides an assurance of privacy which is a growing concern in the wake of incidents such as 2018’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Now for the good news, Snapchat is currently the latest social media messaging platform to add end-to-end encryption. The end-to-end encryption ranks are growing from the likes of WhatsApp, Wickr, Viber, LINE, Telegram, KakaoTalk, Signal, Dust, Threema, Cyphr, CoverMe, Silence, SureSpot, and Wire, and now Snapchat. The feature is looking increasingly likely to become standard across the industry, despite governments and law enforcement concerns
Until then, remember that favourite apps like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger don’t use end-to-end encryption, so your conversations and files may not be fully secured. However, if you are like me, a Skype user, the good news is that the company introduced end-to-end encryption at the beginning of 2018; thank you Microsoft.
Note: That since Spring of 2018 Twitter is reportedly testing a secret, encrypted messaging option that would enable its platform. At last news, the “testing is at an advanced stage, but not in place.”