Data is one of the most important assets everyone has on the internet, yet most people don’t realize its importance until it is too late and all their data has been leaked.
The age of information has been upon us since the early 2000s, some might even argue since the 90s, but one thing is for sure, and that is that personal information such as preferences, habits, conversations, and secrets can all be found on one’s smart device such as a phone.
Our online protection is also why there are so many cybersecurity businesses and walls put into place to protect your privacy and security.
If you’re amongst the 1.3 billion individuals who use Messenger, you may want to reflect on your priorities as an internet user. Unfortunately, though, it is near impossible to avoid using messenger whilst also staying well-connected thanks to its undeniable popularity globally.
Messenger’s global popularity is shadowed by WhatsApp, with the messaging application being the number one leading platform for communicating worldwide.
The biggest problem with messaging apps such as the one from Facebook is that they allow third parties to get a hold of user data, including governments and any organizations behind the app. You might as well do home data entry for these companies, that’s how easily they know your info.
What to look for when choosing a secure messaging application.
Trying to choose between all the messaging options available on platforms such as the Google Play Store can prove difficult, especially when deciding on what your needs are and what features you would like to see. In this article, we will break down said features and give you 10 recommendations.
End-to-end encryption, or E2E, is the main thing you should be looking for when looking at the qualities of a potential messaging app you would like to use.
This means messages between two parties are turned from plaintext into ciphertext and are hard to decrypt by any third party.
This encryption means no internet service provider, no company running the app, and no government can access the data you are sending to your chosen second party.
Synchronization is also something important to look for. This means the application itself is synchronized across platforms such as mobile devices, desktops, and generally the internet.
The reason this feature is nice to have is when you wish to store one set of information on a certain device, and delete it from the other.
A nice addition to such apps is them being open source, meaning you are able to view the code and what the app itself is made of.
The last thing that is mentioned often yet used less is the multiple ways you can send messages, be it through text, voice message, or video. This is said to make your information safer since you can still delete them and they are harder to decrypt.
Let’s look at the best apps for your cybersecurity needs and what features they hold for you.
WhatsApp has over two billion users worldwide, with most people in many different countries using this as their main messaging platform. It is both Android and iOS compatible, making it even more accessible for users.
This app is free and offers an ad-free experience for its users, but what makes it secure?
WhatsApp has E2E developed by Open Whisper Systems, the same company that develops security for Signal, the next messaging application we will be talking about in this article. In this app, only senders and receivers can decrypt messages, be that texts, video, and voice recordings.
WhatsApp also has verified encryption, allowing you to confirm the encryption of your data using either a QR code or a sixty-digit code, and two-step verification linked to your phone number for extra security.
Lastly, messages are not stored on WhatsApp unless they are unable to send them. If the message is not sent, then it is stored on the WhatsApp servers for 30 days, then deleted.
Unfortunately, Facebook (now known as Meta) bought WhatsApp back in 2014, and forced users to share more data with the main company to keep using the app itself, meaning sharing user data became a more open thing thanks to that.
Signal isn’t the most popular messaging application out there, but it really should be, especially since it is free. Most people don’t place importance on cybersecurity, seeing anti-viruses as a courtesy that comes with owning a device that connects to the internet, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Signal provides users with the most secure form of messaging according to cybersecurity experts, and now we will debunk how it is able to make its messaging as secure as it is.
As is standard for secure messaging, it uses end-to-end encryption covering all forms of media that can be shared between two parties.
The app also asks for your set pin code when signing into a new device for the first time. The application is also open source, something we mentioned earlier as being transparent to users and good for security thanks to others being able to check its security routinely.
A unique thing about Signal is that it allows its users to set a certain time limit for when messages should disappear, meaning they get deleted for good.
The application also stores only a minimal amount of data on your device, that data being information the app needs to function, your profile, and your phone number. Other than those, nothing else is stored.
You can also add a password to your app, so you can’t open your messages without typing that password in. This is useful in the instance your phone is stolen.
This application is so secure, it virtually doesn’t have any risks.
This application has about 500 million users and is the most popular in the Middle East, but it truly is a good app for safe messaging, especially for larger groups. Telegram supports up to 100,000 users to be in a group chat.
Russia actually banned Telegram from its country thanks to the company not wanting to hand encryption keys over to the government. If you aren’t convinced you’re in safe hands from that, I don’t know what would.
Telegram has all the attributes Signal does, with some extras, including a Cracking Contest made of hackers to try and breach online profiles and decode messages. The contest has a $300,000 prize and allows for the company to notice any security flaws.
Other bonuses are that you can log out remotely and also self-destruct your account after half a year of non-use.
You must, however, enable Safe Chat if you wish to not have Telegram log your chats on their servers. A lack of transparency from the app itself is also questionable, but so far proven secure.