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Microsoft brings end-to-end encryption to Skype in collaboration with Signal

Skype's new private conversations feature uses the Signal Protocol for end-to-end encryption. (Source: Signal)
Skype's new private conversations feature uses the Signal Protocol for end-to-end encryption. (Source: Signal)
There were some fairly large privacy concerns that arose early in the life of Skype. Microsoft has tried to allay those fears in recent times, but the integration of end-to-end encryption using the open-source Signal Protocol is the strongest privacy move they've made to date.

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Skype is getting more secure thanks to a new private conversation feature that Microsoft is adding in collaboration with Signal. This is achieved by using the open-source Signal Protocol which enables secure end-to-end encryption, where only the participants have the keys required to read sent and received messages.

The Signal Protocol is already used by applications such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Signal and WhatsApp automatically use the Signal Protocol to encrypt all conversations by default, but the way that Microsoft has implemented the protocol in Skype is more similar to the setup used by Facebook Messenger. If a user wishes to create an encrypted chat, they must send an invite to the other participant to accept, which then creates a secure channel just for that one conversation. All standard messages are still encrypted during transport, but the central server holds the keys necessary to decrypt and read these.

Private conversations are currently only available in preview for Skype Insiders but should be available in a stable release version of Skype within the next month or two. To invite another user to start a private conversation, click the ‘+’ icon, select ‘New Private Conversation,’ and a new chat window will open with an invitation automatically being sent to the other person for them to accept. A private conversation is device specific, so a new request must be sent if you move to another device (e.g., from Desktop to mobile). Notifications won’t preview the message content for privacy reasons, messages can’t be edited after sending, and files can’t be forwarded — although files from the device can still be shared via the chat.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 01 > Microsoft brings end-to-end encryption to Skype in collaboration with Signal
Craig Ward, 2018-01-15 (Update: 2018-01-15)
Craig Ward
Craig Ward - News Editor
I grew up in a family surrounded by technology, starting with my father loading up games for me on a Commodore 64, and later on a 486. In the late 90's and early 00's I started learning how to tinker with Windows, while also playing around with Linux distributions, both of which gave me an interest for learning how to make software do what you want it to do, and modifying settings that aren't normally user accessible. After this I started building my own computers, and tearing laptops apart, which gave me an insight into hardware and how it works in a complete system. Now keeping up with the latest in hardware and software news is a passion of mine.