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Elon Musk’s plan to protect Twitter direct messages

Praised by many, but criticized by others, it is clear that the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk it did not go unnoticed.

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And beyond his outlandish posts, Musk is taking advantage of the growing popularity of his posts to poll the public of social media with a number of potential features that could be added to the platform.

Therefore, in addition to the function that has been carried out to edit tweets and carry out other activities in response to the disagreements of some users, such as the proposal to release the Twitter algorithms in an open source model, one of the latest publications of the millionaire suggests that end-to-end encryption (also known as E2EE) is implemented to protect the privacy of direct messages on the platform.

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And it is that currently, any direct message sent between Twitter users; are senders and recipients, as well as any Twitter administrator with the required level of system access, they can see them.

In this way, the new encryption system will guarantee that the messages are exclusively associated with the two parties involved in this conversation, leaving the social network itself completely without access to any other information or private content.

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The ciphertext can only be decrypted when the sender and receiver have the correct cryptographic keys to decrypt the original message. This encryption has the objective of maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data.

While online privacy advocates praise E2EE and the protections it provides, detractors will of course continue to be found. And other stakeholders, such as governments or other organizations, believe that E2EE has gone too far and point out that it can help hide criminal activities and protect those involved in them.

This is how end-to-end encrypted messages work

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The user privacy protection mechanism is active in WhatsApp since April 2016. Its purpose is that the messages, photos, videos, voicemails, documents, status updates and calls are safe and do not allow access to strangers.

And well, as mentioned above, the goal is that only users who communicate directly can read or listen to the content sent and that no one else, not even the company, can do so.

This happens because messages are secured with a ‘padlock’, of which only the people involved have the ‘key’ to open and read them.

This end-to-end encryption protocol is designed to prevent third parties and WhatsApp from accessing the plain text of calls or messages. Furthermore, even if the encryption keys of the device are physically compromised, they cannot be used to go back in time and decrypt previously transmitted messages.

The system uses three types of public keys:

– One for device identification.

– Another that is generated periodically and digitally signed by the former.

– Another that is used only once each time a service is provided.

Also, it makes use of three types of session keys:

– An administrative key is used to generate the chain key.

– A chain key is used to generate the message key.

– And a message key consisting of 80 bytes: 32 of them for the AES256 key, another 32 byte for the HMACSHA256 key and another 16 bytes for the IV, an initialization vector.

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