Signal is an open source project now found in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Allo. Starting today, Skype is testing out a new feature called Private Conversations that delivers end-to-end encryption to your chats. They can only send emoticons, files, and audio messages from the chat window.
The Skype Insider app for Windows, macOS and Linux is available to download on this page, and the Android app can be found in the Google Play Store (Microsoft is no longer accepting beta testers on iOS).
In order to further protect privacy, Private Conversations will not be shown in Chats or in any form of notification. Those encrypted messages can only be read by people involved in the communication.
Several popular services have added encrypted messaging for their products, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, while other apps like Threema specialize in it. Skype, despite its popularity, has been slow to offer its users this option.
Give it a try by selecting "New Private Conversation" from the compose menu or from the recipient's profile.
Signal, the company behind the encrypted messaging app by the same name, has announced a new partnership with Microsoft.
Microsoft has not revealed when the feature will be implemented in the main Skype client, but it's safe to assume that it'll be at least a few weeks/months before all the kinks are ironed out. You can only participate in a private conversation from a single device at a time.
The feature will initiate encrypted private chats only with other users on the Insider build, according to a report by The Verge. The researchers recommend that WhatsApp add an additional authentication mechanism for group chats, but in the meantime users may want to stick to one-on-one conversations when discussing sensitive information.
Skype is rolling out a new feature soon. Take note that the feature is device-specific.