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Security is a big concern for many users and while most typically think of that as meaning you protect your PC from malware, there are also easy ways to protect your conversations as well. Starting today, Skype is testing out a new feature called Private Conversations that delivers end-to-end encryption to your chats.

The encrypted communication channel works for both audio and text messages and files as well but not video calls. Microsoft is using the Signal Protocol by Open Whisper Systems to secure the data and for now, you can only use this feature with contacts that are participating in the Skype Insider Preview.

If you do start a Private Conversation, the contents of those chats will be hidden from the chat list and notifications will be turned off as well.

On one hand, this is an excellent new feature for Skype but on the other, why did it take so long to arrive? Many other chat services have offered this functionality for some time and further, they encrypt all chats not just one specific type of conversation.

This is a good start for Skype but what I do hope to see is that they make all messages and audio calls encrypted by default rather than being opt-in. Seeing as it is in beta today, this may become a reality but Microsoft has yet to acknowledge if they will go down this path.

Private Conversations are available now to Skype Insiders using Skype version 8.13.76.8 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.