In a coup for privacy advocates, strong end-to-end encryption is coming to Whatsapp, a cross-platform instant messaging app with more than 500 million installations on the Android platform alone.
... Over the past three years, [Moxie Marlinspike's] team at Open Whisper Systems has developed a open encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems. That specification is now being incorporated into Whatsapp.
The term asynchronous means that the endpoints don't need to wait for a message from a server or other party to function properly. That's what allows one person to send a burst of a dozen messages while the other remains idle. Implementing strong end-to-end crypto on such systems is especially challenging, particularly when it comes to devising a way to implement forward secrecy. But as Ars reported last year, TextSecure devised a clever technique for doing just that.Full article.