Are you worried that your messages are being spied on and read by app developers? Are you using any of the following apps to substitute for SMS: WhatsApp, Hangouts, or Line? You might not appreciate them collecting your texts.
Read on to learn about the best trustworthy messaging apps available on the App Store. They were developed to provide privacy and maintain user confidentiality.
Wait, what about iMessage?
iMessage is a favorite topic of debate among security experts. Some time ago, Quarkslab came up with two new threats that were evident while using iMessage from Apple. According to the report, hackers would retrieve messages by gaining access to Apple servers and then stealing the pair of encryption keys used. Although it’s a really tough job to do, those determined enough would be able to work past all the defenses.
Another case shows how easily Apple itself would be able to decrypt and read the messages, as they also maintain the servers. Apple possesses all technical know-how required to hack into or intercept texts. Of course, they claim to respect privacy and to not allow such attacks on users.
iMessage itself is pretty safe and can be trusted, but, ultimately, your privacy depends upon the word of Apple. If that’s not enough for you, read on to learn about 6 alternatives that would protect your texts unconditionally.
1. Silent Phone
Developed by Silent Circle, this was a unique app released in October 2012, well before NSA Prism’ data gathering activities came into light. Silent Phone requires a subscription of $9.99 a month, but ensures that your phone and messages remain secure. There are additional charges incurred if you wish to call numbers not serviced by Silent Phone, but the conversation would still remain secure.
Confide is a free-to-use app that does not keep track of conversations. The messages are deleted once read, similar to Snapchat. Confide’s advantage is that texts pass through a more secure channel, thanks to the end-to-end encryption – even the team at Confide would not be able to read them.
The interface looks smooth. One drawback is that you cannot password-protect your messages. Also, due to the need to swipe constantly, you would not be able to capture screenshots of this app. As of now, Confide is available only on the iOS platform.
3. Wickr Me
Developers claim that the encryption used in Wickr Me is of military grade. The messages sent can be read only by the intended audience and self-destruct afterwards. You can select the time after which the messages disappear.
The encryption used in this app is AES 256-bit encryption. No user information is collected or stored, which ensures an added level of security, meaning that the message cannot be tracked back to you. This free app is available on both iOS and Android.
Threema also has end-to-end encryption and does not use e-mail address or phone number to identify people. Instead, every user receives a random ID for verification. This provides full anonymity and a high level of security for your messaging.
Trusted contacts can be confirmed with a QR code or even a fingerprint scan. While extremely secure, this might not be the best idea if you’re not able to meet the person you’re messaging in real life. The app is available for Android users as well.
ChatSecure takes privacy to a new level. It does not have an encryption system of its own, instead making use of other protocols like non-standard root certificates (generally used for Jabber connections) and SSL certificates (used to encrypt all connections).
One more encryption system used by this app is known as OTR, or Off-The-Record, but for it to work successfully, both your device and the device of the person you are texting should have a messaging client that would support OTR.
Telegram and its developers have claimed a lot about the security features used by this app. The messages are cloud-stored and can be retrieved across multiple devices. Telegram seems to operate faster than any other app due to the decentralized network of servers, which enables users to connect to servers closest to them. The app is also available on Android.
No matter which app you end up using, if you have confidential information to share, internet might not be your safest option. While all the above apps will do their best to protect your privacy, a certain measure of caution should always be present. That said, if you have any other suggestions for mobile messengers with tight security, be sure to share them in the comments below.