Microsoft Tests End-to-End Encryption in Skype Conversations


Skype Insiders can navigate to the Compose menu and select "New Private Conversation" to get started. These conversations are secured using industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems.

Signal is an open source project now found in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Allo. Microsoft has finally acknowledged that it needed to address this gap, and today the company is introducing end-to-end encrypted Skype messages and audio calls for Skype Insiders on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. Private Conversations will now be rolled out only to Skype Insiders on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. You can tell the Skype chat is private by a lock icon next to the contact's name (shown on the right). "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", explained Ellen Kilbourne, manager of the Skype Insider Program. But they aren't equally secure, which is why one leading IM service - the Microsoft-owned Skype - is teaming up with Signal to bring encryption to users around the globe.

Select the contact you'd like to start the Private Conversation with. What this means is that Skype's end-to-end encryption is not a complete one; but kudos to Microsoft for adding it in the first place. You can not pick up a Private Conversation from a different device; you will have to repeat the process from the very beginning.

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Dubbed "Private Conversations", this feature will enable Insiders to keep shared information private via end-to-end encryption. But this isn't the same as end-to-end encryption.

Separately, there was a flap earlier this week about hackers and spies being able to slip into Signal-protected WhatsApp group chats by compromising WhatsApp servers. Take note that the feature is device-specific.

There's no word as to when Microsoft expects to roll out end-to-end encryption to all Skype users. Having to do this every time on Skype would be more of headache than feature.