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WhatsApp crosses the 2 billion user mark

WhatsApp is an end-to-end encrypted messaging application. LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP

The WhatsApp messaging app, owned by Facebook, announced on Wednesday (February 12th) that it has crossed the 2 billion user mark worldwide. It had 1.5 billion two years earlier. Launched in 2011, WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014. The company, which also owns the popular Instagram and Messenger, estimates that 2.26 billion people open at least one of its own apps every day.

The success of WhatsApp is based on its ease of use, to send written or voice messages to one or more parties or simply to call. Working with the Internet, WhatsApp has particularly developed in certain countries such as Brazil, where the tariffs of telephone operators are high. The application also allows you to share photos, videos or even animated GIFs.

In its press release published Wednesday, the company also insists a lot on one of its features, often invisible to the eyes of its users: the default encryption and, from start to finish, of each message sent on WhatsApp.

“This sophisticated encryption acts like a tamper-proof digital padlock that preserves the information you send via WhatsApp against hackers and criminals. Messages are only stored on your phone and no one can read or listen to your calls, not even us. “

“We will not compromise”

Other popular messaging services, such as Apple’s iMessage, offer the same type of device, but not all applications. Messages exchanged on Facebook Messenger, for example, are not encrypted end-to-end by default.

If, during the passage of this very symbolic course, WhatsApp wishes to emphasize this aspect of its service, it is notably because, at the end of January, two independent experts of the United Nations suggested that the iPhone of Jeff Bezos had been hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and this via WhatsApp. Information likely to tarnish the image of “secure” messaging application, which believes that the flaw used to spy on the billionaire was more likely to be sought from Apple. As the expert reports have not been made public, the explanation remains unknown for the time being.

Read also 5 questions about the hacking of Jeff Bezos' phone by Saudi Arabia

In addition, public authorities, in particular the United States, regularly pose the threat of imposing on web giants to allow them exceptional access to messages from users targeted by a procedure. However, these companies and the vast majority of computer security experts are swarming, creating a “backdoor” of this type would weaken the security of all users. “Strong encryption is a necessity of modern life”, reiterates WhatsApp in its press release. “We will not compromise on security as this could expose our users to certain dangers. “

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