Instant messaging service Whatsapp has announced it will encrypt all its users' communications since yesterday.
With end-to-end encryption, messages are scrambled as they leave the sender's device and can only be decrypted by the recipient's device.
It renders messages unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement.
Whatsapp, which has a billion users worldwide, said file transfers and voice calls would be encrypted too.
Whatsapp explained their new move in the company blog as: “The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.”
The Facebook-owned company said protecting private communication was one of its "core beliefs".