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WhatsApp is now the most secure messaging app on Android

Whatsapp welcome screen
Whatsapp welcome screen (Image credit: Android Central)

WhatsApp is now one of the strongest messaging apps you can find on Android, thanks to new end-to-end encryption for messages. That means that your messages are totally secure and cannot be decrypted by WhatsApp at all — no matter what. Other apps offer similar end-to-end security, but WhatsApp is by far the largest of the bunch. The new encryption features are said to be heading to iOS soon as well.

The new feature comes from a partnership with Open Whisper Systems, best known for their TextSecure apps. Open Whisper CTO Moxie Marlinspike says it took six months to nail down the code for such a large deployment.

Only the two parties involved in the chat will be able to see the messages, so even if WhatsApp were asked to hand over the messages to law enforcement (or the NSA), they won't be able to.

Will the new encryption features make you a bigger fan of WhatsApp? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Verge

By day, Adam is a writer for multiple Future Publishing brands with over fifteen years of experience. He's expertly researched and written hundreds of articles ranging from mobile phones to mobile homes to baby mobiles. By night, he's a gadget geek, avid disc golfer, 80s nerd, cord cutter, cook, husband, dad, and memory collector.
106 Comments
  • I have yet to find a use for it... Why do I need another messaging platform? Posted via the Android Central App
  • You need more friends Nexus 4
  • WhatsApp doesnt do SMS. Most people already use the Common Twitter/Instagram/FaceBook which already have messaging features themselves. I thought WhatsApp was cool but I didnt have any friends who wanted to bother with it. Even those who have it installed dont use it.
  • I've used Telegram (and before that WhatsApp) to text my wife and any friend available. It's MUCH better than SMS... I'll list like 3 reasons:
    *Uses Data which is cheaper than Text Messaging on a phone. Most carriers will give you unlimited text now but I have Ting and it keeps that down.
    *Provides Encryption where Twitter, Facebook, instagram and Text Messages do NOT provide. In fact with those Social Media solutions you're entrusting them to handle your message securely and not sell the content. End to End Encryption fixes both those issues
    *Faster than SMS... Much faster...
  • Almost all American plans, even prepaid ones, offer unlimited text. That can't be underestimated. Most folks could care less about encryption or messaging speed, even many so-called "geeks". What matters to them is simplicity. The OP is correct in that most people, at least in America, flat-out could care less about using yet another messaging platform regardless of its advantages.
  • Couldn't care less Posted via Android Central App
  • I have a data account, meaning I don't need SMS. I use Skype for calling, conferencing, and text discussions. On WhatsApp I can send data, pictures, short and quick or long messages, movies etc. I can direct them to a single receiver or to many. As you state, it is limited to those who have it, obviously, and I found that persuading users to the platform hasn't been easy. But it's great with those who use it. I wonder why FB doesn't push it more, rather than have their SMS messaging...
  • I have plenty of friends. For short messaging, texting works great. No additional account or software needed. Some I use Facebook messenger or Hangouts... This is yet another platform that the people I'm communicating with would have to have for it to be useful... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't forget about BBM. It's cross platform and doesn't upload your contacts onto some unsecured server like Whatsapp and Viber. In fact, it doesn't even use contact info so someone can't just get hold of your PIN and bombard you or harass you to a point that you need to change your phone number.
  • Exactly. Our phones already come with the ability to send receive messages, group messages as well. Posted via Android Central App
  • Most if not all of my texts do not contain information that I would deem necessary for it to be encrypted.
  • The government appreciates your lack of desire for privacy. Posted via Android Central App
  • Don't forget your tin-foil hat! Sony Xperia Z2
    Nvidia Shield
  • Lol, exactly the point of this app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Maybe you could get some ideas Snapchat! Make it more safer! Posted via the Android Central App
  • More safer....hmmmm that's a good idea, but first, what does that mean? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol, believing what you're told...
  • That's what I'm saying. It'll be the app that comes back six months from now saying, major hack!. Just cause there claiming this makes em a bigger culprit I think Posted via Android Central App
  • You are a pudding brain Posted via the Android Central App
  • Irrelevant. Even if WhatsApp were hacked, all the intruders would see is gibberish, unless they had both the encryption key provided by the sending device and the decryption key. That's the point of end-to-end encryption; your plaintext data is not available to anyone but the sender and the receiver. Sent from my Nexus 5, behind six proxies
  • Sexters everywhere rejoice! Posted via mostly ghost taps on OG N7, in the Android Central App, therefore posts may not be my own.
  • But, but, but BBM... Posted via the Android Central App
  • There's no pleasing you nerds. Nexus 4
  • +1000 Posted via the Android Central App
  • this!
  • Bitches gonna bitch
  • I don't really need my grocery list to be encrypted. Same goes for the cute emoticons I send my wife The panda has spoken
  • Because the whole world revolves around you, we should just give up with encryption. May as well remove security on our bank accounts while we're at it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Totally different things.
  • Thanks for showing your a pudding brain. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Maybe you should learn the difference between your and you're before calling someone a pudding brain...
  • I prefer my trusty sms. I like not having to worry whether the other end has the proper app set up.
  • I understand that most US users may not find a use for WhatsApp but SMS is not useful when you want to do cross country communication. Especially in developin countries where even local SMS are charged. I personally can stay in touch with friends and relatives all over the world using Whatsapp. Like I said before for most US users it may not make sense as to why WhatsApp is so hyped up but outside of US, it is huge. In India phones are marketed with Whatsapp and Viber as features.
  • businesses use this to communicate. this is great Posted via Android Central App
  • Seriously? What professional business would use WhatsApp? That's ridiculous. Posted via Android Central App
  • I guess you are not living in 2014. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol in not entirely sure how to take that. Posted via Android Central App
  • what do you prefer email? flooding inboxes for simple things Posted via Android Central App
  • Tons of businesses use BBM and Hangouts. Why would WhatsApp be any different?
  • "Most" secure? - I would doubt it. More secure for sure.
  • Everyone I talk to uses Hangouts, so I'd have to get everyone to switch platforms, or at least use two different apps. I don't know anyone on Whatsapp. I hate using multiple chat apps, there are too many separate platforms available that it is a pain to download one just to talk to a single person unless everyone is on that ecosystem.
  • Agreed, there should only be one text app for Android that incorporates all the current options available. Posted via Android Central App
  • There we go.. Posted from the one and only... Note 4...
  • You are an anomaly. I know no one who uses Hangouts. Mainly because Hangouts is utter shit. Everyone I know uses What's App Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wrong. There are many who use it and Hangouts is an awesome service offered by Google, it will eventually rival iMessage if Google continues to grow it as they have. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hello, everyone uses WhatsApp.
    PS. From another part of the planet.
  • Literally no one I know uses WhatsApp or has even heard of it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yours is an interesting part of the planet :) Posted via Android Central App
  • @Adam Zeis
    Thanks for your post. Yeah whatsApp First year FREE! ($0.99 USD/year after). why does not it to be like hangout or yahoo messenger or Viber or tango or Line like software !!
    Thanks in Advance
  • Lol you guys are funny. Whatsapp. Most secure. Lol.
  • Big LOL! But in all seriousness, Threema is the most secure.
  • Lol
  • I text all of my girlfriends thru WhatsApp. They will never know (evil laugh) lol
  • Don't worry. They are doing the same.
  • Best answer Posted via the Android Central App
  • Whats app is my main sms app you can talk to 50 people at a time didn't care for end to end encryption but is nice to know it has it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Surprising. I thought of it mostly first or as a teen thing or alternative to facebbok messenger or hangouts. I could see some uses for it. Sometimes I need to send secure info to my husband while he is traveling and this might be a way to do it.
  • You are really out of touch with reality. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And you are a jackass. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's much more popular outside the US than it is here. Sent from my Nexus 5, behind six proxies
  • I think this is great news. One of my nagging concerns with the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook is that I would, essentially, be using Facebook Messenger with all that implies i.e. nothing being private on Facebook. I consider this a truly affirmative step by WhatsApp to keep their promise that messages on WhatsApp will be private and not part of the Facebook ecosystem proper. Plus, the idea of truly encrypted messaging makes me happy. I don't care if I am sending only a grocery list, it is my grocery list and I should be the one deciding who it is shared with. I think that sometimes we forget that, in a free society, there are certain things the Government should never do, no matter the justification.
  • They must have some type of decryption mechanism in place, I know it. Facebook wont let a treasure trove of info slip past its hand.
  • This is a step in the right direction. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't like whatsapp in near future you will see Facebook messenger will took over whatsapp Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, right.
  • Anyone comment on picture sending whatsapp with Facebook messenger ??? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Whatsapp no thank you. Posted via some candy.
  • Pudding brain Posted via the Android Central App
  • Literally all.. and i mean all, my friends use whatsapp, its my primary service for messaging by far, haven't sent an SMS for ages... unless its to my mum.
  • The only person I use SMS frequently is my wife and it is because I haven't bothered to send her a message on Whatsapp. She uses Whatsapp about as much as I do. Oh wait I lied, I also SMS my dad and grandmother.
  • Uhm, whatsapp IS a texting app right? Therefore it is SMS... Posted via Android Central App
  • It's an IM app. Posted via Android Central App
  • What's the difference? Text=IM=SMS=MMS. It all translates to communication via text. Posted via Android Central App
  • this is true in a purely technical sense but by this broad definition a typewritten letter could be called a SMS. There are distinct differences between Instant Messaging and SMS/MMS. For example, there is no 160 character limit to a message, photos and video can be sent full resolution, groups are handled better as they can be persistent, named and people can be added and removed at will (kinda like your own private social network). Also, IM uses your data not your SMS allotment (even in the US some folks have limited Text Messaging plans and in other countries it is common).
  • Arnt these guys also the ones behind whisperpush? the integrated system level encryption on cyanogenmod for sms? Looks like whatsapp decided they liked what they saw lol.
  • If only it had a pc client...
  • BBM is now cross platform and way more secure than What's app. Posted via Android Central App
  • I wasn't a big fan of what's up since there's Google hangouts, bbm etc but after installing it and trying it out it was very handy because it's very popular in Mexico Colombia and all of Latin America. And now with this encryption update I will be more then willing to use it more often.
  • There are many benefits to whatsapp. For ALOT of people it's the cross platform BBM (way before BBM was made available to other platforms other than Blackberry). One of the most sought after features is free international use. I was first introduced to WhatsApp by my friend who lives here in the states but her family lives in Pakistan. They all had BB's but as the Android revolution dawned upon us she eventually switched. She needed something she could use on her Android phone to communicate for free international with family back home in Pakistan who still had BB's. Granted "They" all had to download WhatsApp, but that's the beauty of it. From the outset it's been available for BB, Android, and iOS, and now WP as well. So when her entire family made the inevitable switch from BB to other platforms (Android/iOS) everything stayed intact didn't skip a beat. WhatsApp has a lot going for it you can send larger video files than you can with SMS, its MUCH MUCH faster than sms, you can backup and encrypt entire chat history to an SD card, works over wifi, (some sms does not) the latest update allows for seeing when the recipient has recieved and read your message, (a feature that propelled BBM in it's day as the standout messaging app) which can be turned off meaning you can disallow the sender from seeing this info. And so much more. Also you don't have to ask people to use it necessarily, it shows who in your contact list has the app automatically you can just send them a message right then and let them know you're now using it as well. It even shows the last time they were active on the app so you know who's actually using it. It may not be for everyone, but its not one of the most popular messaging apps out there for nothing. The last thing WhatsApp needs is a desktop client and cloud backup for your messages so that in the event that your phone is lost or stolen like mine was once you get back up and running on a new device you can get all your messages back. I was able to do that when upgrading phones by backing up to the SD card putting it in the new phone and restoring, but obviously if your device is lost or stolen so goes the SD card with it. OK I sound like I work for WhatsApp some I'm gonna stop now lol. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice :D
  • Ok I just checked this text app out. It's definitely not for me. First of all you have to sign up. Right there I draw the line. I need no more stupid accounts. Then you can only text other users of this text app... That's a huge WTF for me. Then it's free for a year, costs money after that. HELL TO THE NO! I refuse to pay for a simply texting app. So lame. I can't believe people use something like this. Just terrible business model IMO. This is popular why exactly? Posted via Android Central App
  • Because it's cheaper to use in developing countries. You should try Google Voice for texting off of your WiFi or data. It's free and it's all through your Google account so you don't have to sign up. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah I'm pretty sure Google Voice requires buying a phone line which makes it un viable for most people. Posted via Android Central App
  • Google Voice does not require a land line or any line, really, it is associated with your gmail account primarily and you can associate it with other numbers if you want.
  • Is this a closed system? Meaning can you only send messages to other WhatsApp users? Posted via Android Central App with my LG G3
  • Yep, makes no sense at all, plus it costs! Posted via Android Central App
  • No such thing as end to the encryption
  • Everyone I know uses what's app. Hurray for security!! Posted via Android Central App
  • BBM is the most secure messaging app by far. How does an app that downloads your contact list secure? I call BS on this one... Posted via the Android Central App
  • So, what's the proof it's more secure than BBM? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I trust BBM a hell of a lot more than WhatsApp, a Facebook company. Stopped using Facebook for a damn reason. My account was hacked twice. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Personally I enjoy whatsapp, I've been using it for ages, and will continue to use it. I have friends that use it, and friends that don't even know what it is. But, I mean it has to be somewhat popular for a company to buy it, right? It has to have some very good things about it as well. I do wish there was a way to send SMS messages to people that didn't have it, that would be great, but it is what it is. At least you know the people who you are sending messages to on whatsapp know enough to use it and what the benefits are to using it. Hell, some of my friends didn't even know what hangouts were until I explained it to them and now they think its the greatest thing on android. I'm sure I'll be having the same conversation with the same people concerning whatsapp, and to be honest, i don't mind explaining it to them. I'd rather have more people know what it is and why to use it instead of just blindly hating it and what not cause they don't understand it. ... I feel like a "The more you know" commercial on PBS... lol.
  • bulls***t.. I trust Telegram Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just use text secure,they use the same encryption and it's free. You can also use it like any other SMS app...unlike what's app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I dont think so. Because of facebook
  • Information is little incomplete. For now only plain text messages are encrypted. Group messages, picture messages, audio messages an video messages are not sent encrypted.
  • can you provide a source for this information, please.
  • Nevermind, found it.
  • I use it a lot with family and friends both in the US and overseas. There's something fun about chatting that you don't get with texting. WhatsApp is a chat room where you can easily and efficiently share info, voice notes, pictures, video in a quick and easy manner, even when you don't have good signal and you only have WiFi, which is also handy when traveling overseas.
  • Eh... Texting and "chatting" are the same thing... Posted via Android Central App
  • I can do all that on hangouts too.
  • Ha what BS ... you can't trust facebook .. I used to use whatsapp all the time but with every new update something gets messed up now.. delayed messages, not going through at all, having to click on and open the chat for new messages to appear.. its crap now.... I switched over to telegram.. almost identical to WA with true encryption using private chat.
  • 100% this article needs to be removed. Wicker is most secure. Posted via Android Central App
  • You m of what would make me a bigger fan? If I didn't have to ask anyone I wanted to chat with to install it. There is already way too many messaging apps. .. What we need is a standard protocol for sending secure messages that you can use with any platform.
  • Whatsapp is not secure. See http://www.techtimes.com/articles/32469/20150212/whatsapp-security-hole-... for a discussion of what is wrong, and https://www.eff.org/secure-messaging-scorecard for alternatives.
  • Whatsapp is good for international communication. During the earlier part of the Syrian war I was communicating with a blogger in Aleppo. He was eventually tracked down pulled out into the street and shot. Most of these people now use whatsapp on toss away cell phones. I was using Skype with some sort of key logger used for the tracking.