We have been hearing a lot about the data and security breaches these days. The cyberspace is fraught with malicious programs that compromise your online security and steal your personal information. Billions of people worldwide are connected to the World Wide Web round the clock. Many billion messages are shared across this huge global online network. If you are concerned about the security of the messages you exchange with your friends, family and co-workers, you are not the only one. A seemingly harmless personal message, when compromised, could cause lots of troubles.
The big question is – which messaging apps are safe and which ones are not? We know that SMS messages are not encrypted, but what about the more popular apps? In this article we look at the apps you can use if you wish to keep your messages private.
Use Apps that Offer End-to-End Security
If you want to protect your messages from hackers or probably the agencies that spy on people, it is best to use the messaging apps that offer the end-to-end encryption. Some of the messaging services use such a strong encryption technology that it is almost impossible to hack the messages. Unless someone has physical access to your phone or mobile device, no one will be able to read your messages. Here are some of the most popular messaging services we use (not all of them offer end-to-end encryption):
- WhatsApp: It is the most popular messaging application worldwide. WhatsApp was taken over by Facebook a few years ago in a multibillion deal. This messaging service has nearly 1 billion subscribers. WhatsApp offers strong end-to-end encryption. This means that you can be completely confident no one will gain access to your messages until they have your unlocked phone. If you want to keep your messages private, using WhatsApp would be a good idea.
- Messenger: This is another very popular messaging application. This app lets you share messages with other Facebook users. By default, Messenger does not encrypt your messages end-to-end. But, if you want added security and peace of mind, you can use the ‘secret’ feature. When you use this feature, all your messages get encrypted and more secure.
- iMessage: If you are using iMessage to share messages with another iOS user also using iMessage, all your messages are encrypted. Both the users must have iMessage enabled on their device (by default it is enabled.) If you have iMessage enabled and the other user does not, the messages will be sent to the user as SMS and without encryption. If the message bubble is blue it means it is iMessage. Green bubble is for SMS. Also, when you send a message through iMessage to a non-iOS user, it will be sent as SMS and it will not have any encryption.
- Hangouts: Google’s messaging application lets you share messages with others connected to you on Hangouts via Google ID. The messages on Hangouts are not encrypted end-to-end. Also, Google can hand over your messages to the law enforcement team if requested. You can use the ‘off-the record’ feature. This feature deletes your messaging history. But, some of it may still remain saved on the server.
- Signal: Signal isn’t exactly a very popular app. However, it merits a mention because it is one of most secure messaging apps you will ever find. Many experts have scrutinized the security system used by this messaging service and all have been in praise. If you are worried about government or independent agencies trying to crack your messages, you will want to use Signal. It is said to be more secure than all other apps on this list.