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Microsoft starts testing encrypted Skype conversations with Skype Insiders

12 January 2018

Private Conversations will encrypt Skype audio calls and text messages. However, it is possible for Microsoft to decrypt, or be forced to decrypt, this information. The Microsoft-owned service has partnered up with Signal in order to enable the new functionality, which is optional and not default for every chat. 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.

Currently, the Private Conversation feature is available in the Skype Insider program, which is the platform Skype uses to test features before rolling them out to the general public. But professionals usually prefer skype and the company is looking forward to making their conversation secured. Encrypted conversations are locked to the device they are started on. Each private conversation's content will be hidden in both the chat list and from notifications for better privacy.

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Several popular services have added encrypted messaging for their products, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, while other apps like Threema specialize in it. Skype, despite its popularity, has been slow to offer its users this option. "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". Its development is headed by dreadlocked computer security guru Moxie Marlinspike at Whisper Systems, and the code is endorsed by the likes of Edward Snowden and Bruce Schneier.

You can drop us a line or two if you have had the opportunity of using the new end-to-end encryption launched by Microsoft. One has to wonder why it has taken so long for Microsoft to get onboard.

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You will only be able to start private chats with other Skype Insiders running the latest version of the app during the preview. Especially as video chats - the flagship Skype feature - aren't covered. A new invitation must be sent and accepted, to change to another device.

I thought I should also let you know that that the end-to-end encryption doesn't extend to video chats.

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Microsoft starts testing encrypted Skype conversations with Skype Insiders