For many years, Skype has been the de facto communication tool thanks to its many features that are a step above rival platforms, but in recent times, people have been migrating to other alternatives.
Why? Well, that's because those alternatives often offer something Skype doesn't have. For instance, Skype doesn't feature end-to-end encryption, which apps like Signal and WhatsApp have. Naturally, users concerned about security will choose these apps over Skype, but they might not have to anymore.
Skype Finally Brings End-To-End Encryption, But There's A Catch
In January, Skype announced that it was testing end-to-end encryption for chat conversations, secured using Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. The feature is available now for all users on Skype, regardless if they're using it on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, or Windows, as MSPowerUser reports.
To start using the feature, simply select "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or the recipient's profile. The other person will then receive an invite, and if they accept, all calls and messages shared within that conversation will be encrypted end-to-end until it's terminated.
There's one limitation to keep note of, however: while it's possible to engage in end-to-end encrypted conversations within Skype, users can only do so in one thread per device at a time. That's something to keep in mind when using Skype's new end-to-end encryption feature, as many would probably assume that all conversations will have it on by default.
It's possible to switch conversations to other devices, but users will only see the messages sent and received on a given device.
Skype used to offer some form of encryption in the past, but end-to-end encryption is far more secure since the contents of a conversation can only ever be read by the sender and the recipient, meaning there are no backdoors through which third parties can sneak in and snoop on conversations. As an extra precaution, it'll even hide content from the notifications and chat list to prevent someone from "accidentally" glancing at sensitive messages.
With it, Skype joins the ranks of other apps that offer encryption as well, including the aforementioned Signal and WhatsApp, in addition to Apple's iMessage and Facebook's Messenger. Skype's implementation seems a little bit wonky than those options, sure, but it's decent enough to give one a reason to stick with Skype instead of jumping across different apps just for secure messaging.
Thoughts about Skype? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!