The best and most secure messaging apps for Android and iPhone are out there, and you can use them to stay close to your friends and family. These apps have strengths and weaknesses, as well as vulnerabilities, so carefully consider each of these apps.
Beyond fashion and technological evolution, chatting is one of the oldest practices in the history of the Internet – it is casual, intimate and simple.
According to research by Radium One, more than three-quarters of the research we read are suggested by a friend – through messaging apps. That’s why many newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Quartz, have decided to invest in messaging apps.
As we see, in an amazing way, technology has changed the way we interact. But what about our privacy? Are messaging apps for Android and iOS secure? What is the most secure messenger in the market?
Can prying eyes spy on our messages?
Until not so long ago, WhatsApp was the most secure messaging app (competition was low) but in the last few years, many alternatives have become available.
Let us have a look at the best and worst secure messaging apps in the market:
7 Best Secure Messaging Apps: strengths and weaknesses
This is the safest and best choice. When we want to send private information, we can, because it has the most secure encryption algorithm in the chat apps market. Furthermore, it is a free encrypted text app for Apple and Android devices. There is also a desktop version.
It works as any other IM: it synchronizes with the phone contacts and lets you make calls or send messages. Your message will reach the recipient without the risk of wiretapping.
The source code is open so anyone can study it to find flaws that make it vulnerable. But there is a downside: servers don’t keep messages, and there is no way of backing them up. In other words, if you lose your phone, you will lose your conversations forever.
Developers have introduced end-to-end encryption which makes WhatsApp more secure.
However, everything being sent remains on company servers. They cannot read messages, but they have metadata. This means they can see from where, when and with whom we have conversed with.
According to the privacy rules we agree to when we install WhatsApp, the company reserves the right to keep and reuse this information. If they are required to, they must pass on information (always encrypted) to the police, if there is an investigation.
WhatsApp also uses this information for advertising as well as on Facebook, which in 2014 brought the company $16 billion.
This app embeds a protected encryption system. It is available on Apple iPhone and iPad.
Yet John Hopkins researchers discovered a vulnerability in March 2016. Although the bug was repaired a fee days later with the release of iOS 9.3, the researchers believe that Apple’s decision to rely on proprietary algorithm (impossible to study) can limit the discovery of security bugs.
However, within the new iOS 10, differential privacy means that no personal data is collected without explicit consent.
This is not the best messaging app for privacy because their default settings do not deliver encryption.
In fact, by the end of 2015, Professor Matthew Green, one of the most famous experts in cryptology, said its algorithms are subject to many errors.
Nevertheless, Telegram offers many features that make it useful – such as bring able to share attachments of any size and the automated bot.
While this is a great marketing tool that attracts customers, it’s privacy system is questionable.
While neither the sender or receiver have access to history, to reread conversations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation – an association that deals with fundamental rights, regardless of technology – found that our activity on Snapchat is accessible to online servers and that the source code is not open, to look for vulnerabilities.
This is definitely not the best app that gives high consideration to privacy. It does not have an end-to-end encryption system.
Therefore, important documents or conversations could be stolen.
7. Facebook Messenger
At the moment, their app development team is working on an end-to-end encryption system. Therefore, when it comes to security, there is still a long way to go.
This is becoming more and more independent from Facebook Chat, and Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook Messenger to be among the top messaging apps. However, security should be taken more seriously: once Facebook Messenger is installed in a phone, anyone can see what our last messages were.