Microsoft is collaborating with popular encrypted communication company Signal to bring end-to-end encryption support to Skype messenger.
End-to-end encryption assured its users that no one, not even the company or server that transmits the data, can decrypt their messages.
Signal Protocol is an open source cryptographic protocol that has become an industry-wide standard—which is used in Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Google Allo for secure messaging.
Dubbed Private Conversations, the new feature which is about to be introduced in Skype will offer end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text, and multimedia messages like videos and audio files.
"Skype Private Conversations give you enhanced security through end-to-end encryption with an additional layer of security for conversations between you and your friends and family," the company announced.
"Private Conversations can only be between you and one other contact. This is not supported in groups."
How to Start Skype End-to-End Encrypted Calls and Chats
Private Conversations is already available to the Skype Insider program—a platform that allows Skype users to test new features before they rolled out to the rest of its over 300 million of users worldwide.
To initiate a new secure communication with your Skype contact, you need to tap or click on the (+) icon, select 'New Private Conversation' and then select the contact you would like to start the secure communication with.
A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your Skype contact's name. Preview messages from Private Conversations will not appear in the chat list or notifications.
Unlike WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption feature is not enabled by default in Skype and users need to select 'New Private Conversation' from the app's "Compose" menu, or from another user's profile to initiate a secure communication—it's like Facebook Messenger's Secret Conversations, which is also based on of Signal.
Unfortunately, Private Conversations also doesn't currently support video calling, but this is secured by the standard encryption that Microsoft already provides with its Skype service.
Also, even with Private Conversations enabled, Skype will still be able to access some information (metadata) about your secure communications, like when you initiate them, and how long the conversation last.
Skype Insider users can test Private Conversations using Skype build version 126.96.36.199 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.