What is the end-to-end encryption that Elon Musk wants for Twitter?

(CNN Spanish) — Last week brought with it news that rocked the tech industry. On Monday, April 25, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s buyout offer for approximately US$ 44,000 million, so now the American businessman is the new owner of the social network.

How did Elon Musk manage to stay with Twitter? 2:13

From that moment (and, in fact, since before), Musk posted a avalanche of tweets about changes for Twitter. One of the most striking was one from April 27, when he said that the platform’s direct messages (DM) should have end-to-end encryption “like Signal, so no one can spy on or hack your messages.”

Experts have said that this would be good news for Twitter and its security standards, although they also comment that it is somewhat complicated to achieve, since technical changes and security patches have to be made to a social network that is “all in one.” (platform and messages), unlike for example Facebook, which has a specific platform for messages (Messenger) and another for the platform (Facebook).

However, beyond the technical drawbacks, what is the end-to-end encryption that experts ask so much about?

What is end-to-end encryption that Musk wants for Twitter DMs?

In a nutshell, end-to-end encryption is a feature that refers to the protection that messages have from their origin to their destination so that no third party can know what they say.

To better understand encryption, the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky gives a very simple example:

“The main advantage of end-to-end encryption is its restriction of data transmitted from anyone to the receiver. It’s like when you send a letter, you put it in a mailbox that is physically impossible to open, immune to any mallet, saw, pick , etc., except for the recipient. End-to-end encryption ensures the privacy of your communication,” indicates Kaspersky.

Dmitry Bestuzhev, Director of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team in Latin America, previously told CNN that end-to-end encryption is as if your conversation had a unique key to be opened, to which only the sender and recipient have access.

In technical terms, we could say that end-to-end encryption uses the same process as data encryption, which is based on “using an algorithm that transforms standard text characters into an unreadable format. To explain it, this process uses keys encryption to scramble data so that only authorized users can read it,” according to the technology company IBM.

What platforms have this mechanism?

There are platforms that have end-to-end encryption by default, that is, without the user having to activate it. This is the case of WhatsApp, Signal (as Musk pointed out) or Threema (paid app to send messages).

On the other hand, we have platforms like Facebook Messenger or Telegram that have end-to-end encryption, but you have to activate it yourself for it to work. In both options, it is necessary to open a secret chat in the applications.

Meta, owner of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, has said it plans to implement end-to-end encryption default for all your apps globally by 2023.

How to activate it in Messenger and Telegram?

In Messenger, you can click on a conversation, then tap the “i” icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then select the “Go to secret conversation” option. Or open your app, give it the pen icon in the top right of the screen, and then enable the lock next to the “New Message” caption.

In Telegram, open the app, tap the pen icon in the bottom right corner of your screen, and then tap the “New Secret Chat” option.

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What is the end-to-end encryption that Elon Musk wants for Twitter?