Microsoft Brings End-to-End Encryption to Skype

Microsoft has announced their end-to-end encrypted communications, called “Private Conversation”, is available for preview to Skype insiders.

Ellen Kilbourne of Microsoft explains:

With Private Conversations, you can have end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and send text messages or files like images, audio, or videos, using the industry standard Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems. The content of these conversations will be hidden in the chat list as well as in notifications to keep the information you share private.

Currently only Skype insiders can use this feature and it can only participate from a single device at a time. 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.

Here is a how-to for Private Conversation from the Skype website:

To start a Private Conversation:

  1. Tap or click the + icon.
  2. Select New Private Conversation.
  3. Select the contact you’d like to start the Private Conversation with. You will be taken to a new chat with them.
  4. An invitation will be sent to your contact asking to accept your invitation. This invitation is valid for 7 days. If they do not accept before then, the invite will expire, and you will need to send another one.
  5. Once the contact has accepted, your Private Conversation will be available on that specific device. If you’d like to move the conversation to a different device, you would need to resend the invitation to your contact.

Deleting a Private Conversation
This works the same as a regular chat. Either right click or tap and hold on the conversation and select Delete chat. To recover the Private Conversation after you’ve deleted it, start a Private Conversation with that contact again and you’ll be able to pick up where you left off.

Ending a Private Conversation
To end a Private Conversation, go to the chat header, scroll down and select End Private Conversation. You will receive a confirmation window to end the conversation. Select End Conversation. If you want to start another Private Conversation with this person, you will need to send a new invitation.

Features unique to Private Conversations:

  • A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact’s name.
  • Preview messages from Private Conversations will not show in Chats or notifications.
  • Private Conversation capabilities are limited. You cannot edit a message or forward a file. From the chat window, only emoticons, files and audio messages are available to send.
  • Private Conversations are specific to a device. A new invitation must be sent and accepted, to change to another device.

Private Conversations are available in preview for Skype Insiders only.

Source: Security Week and Skype

Kevin Button

Kevin is a BlackBerry enthusiast and is known to be shouting it from the tops of mountains.