Microsoft encrypts Skype messages through Signal

Skype displaying a Private Conversation acceptance screen

Skype Private Conversations end-to-end encryption arrives for Insiders

Many common Skype activities expose data that is not encrypted at various points between two users. The new feature, announced via a blog post, is called Private Conversations, and is available for Skype Insiders now.Skype was already using 256-bit AES encryption, as reported by Mary Jo Foley on our sister site ZDNet.

Skype had the potential to be what WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are now.

Signal is the gold standard of end-to-end encryption. One has to wonder why it has taken so long for Microsoft to get onboard.

To end a Private Conversation, go to the chat header, scroll down and select End Private Conversation. If they do not accept before then, the invite will expire, and you will need to send another one. It's worth mentioning that if you're planning to test this feature, you will only be able to start private chats with other individuals who have the same Insider build.

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If Microsoft gives the go-ahead and E2E support lands in the Skype stable release, all of today's major IM platforms will be supporting encrypted conversations as optional, non-default features. "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". Assuming this is true since both partners are regarding it as a new "Private Conversations" feature instead of giving complete blanket coverage.

A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name, and preview messages will not show up in Chats or notifications. That means that a conversation started on a phone can't be continued from a laptop, for instance, due to the nature of Signal's encryption protocol.

The feature is now available in preview for Skype Insiders. Now these conversations are limited to two people at a time.

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