Skype is the latest messaging service to jump onto the end-to-end encryption bandwagon. But that's set to change. 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.
"With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we're excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol's strong encryption properties for secure communication", a statement on the Signal blog reads.
It is important to note that no chat content from these conversations will be displayed in the chat list, or with other notifications - in order to keep any shared information private.
There's no word as to when Microsoft expects to roll out end-to-end encryption to all Skype users.
In addition, if you've been using Facebook's sign-in service to log into your Skype account - you'll need to update your credentials as that mode of connection has been shut down. The company has started testing end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text messaging and image, audio and video file transmission.
Give it a try by selecting "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or from the recipient's profile.More news: Raiders to hire Jemal Singleton as running backs coach
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Microsoft says it plans to work on improving the user experience around invitations to join private conversations, and to bring this to the Universal Windows Platform Skype client.
Microsoft will be using the Signal open-source protocol to encrypt these communications. "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".
One of the best features of WhatsApp has been its end-to-end encryption since day one.
A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name.
The Skype Insider app for Windows, macOS and Linux is available to download on this page, and the Android app can be found in the Google Play Store (Microsoft is no longer accepting beta testers on iOS).
Private Conversation capabilities are limited.