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Finally Johnny Can Encrypt. But Does This Make Him Feel More Secure?

Gerber, Nina; Zimmermann, Verena; Henhapl, Birgit; Emeröz, Sinem; Volkamer, Melanie

End-to-end (E2E) encryption is an effective measure against privacy infringement. In 2016, it was introduced by WhatsApp for all users (of the latest app version) quasi overnight. However, it is unclear how non-expert users perceived this change, whether they trust WhatsApp as a provider of E2E encryption, and how their communication behavior changed. We conducted semi-structured interviews with twenty WhatsApp users to answer these questions. We found that about half of the participants perceived that even with E2E encryption, their messages could still be eavesdropped, for example by hackers and other criminals, governmental institutions, or WhatsApp's employees and cooperation partners. Many participants correctly identified sender and recipient as weakest points after the introduction of E2E encryption, but misconceptions were still present. For instance, users thought that messages were transmitted directly between two devices without being forwarded or stored on a server, or interpreted 'end-to-end' as a temporally end of communication. The majority of users stated to mistrust WhatsApp and its E2E encryption and presumed image ... mehr

Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren (AIFB)
Kompetenzzentrum für angewandte Sicherheitstechnologie (KASTEL)
Publikationstyp Proceedingsbeitrag
Jahr 2018
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator KITopen ID: 1000083577
Erschienen in Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES 2018), Hamburg, 27.-30. August 2018
Verlag ACM, New York, NY
Schlagworte WhatsApp, E2E encryption, Privacy, Trust
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