Skype teams up with Signal to offer encrypted chats

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Skype is now being listed as one of the well-known messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption. But that's set to change. 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. Microsoft has finally acknowledged that it needed to address this gap, and today the company is introducing end-to-end encrypted Skype messages and audio calls for Skype Insiders on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

In order to further protect privacy, Private Conversations will not be shown in Chats or in any form of notification. Many common Skype activities expose data that is not encrypted at various points between two users.

In addition, if you've been using Facebook's sign-in service to log into your Skype account - you'll need to update your credentials as that mode of connection has been shut down. The encryption will cover chat, files, and audio messages but audio and video calls are not encrypted.

The new feature is now out in preview for Skype Insiders.

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The select the contact to start a Private Conversation.

One of the best features of WhatsApp has been its end-to-end encryption since day one. Encrypted conversations are locked to the device they are started on. 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. In conjunction with Signal, the new encryption feature will make private conversation between users secure. "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". Also, in this category are Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and Telegram.

A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your contact's name. Having to do this every time on Skype would be more of headache than feature.

Private Conversation capabilities are limited.