Secure messaging apps

July 05, 2015

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In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations in June 2013, digital security and privacy have become new buzzwords and garnered immense significance. Snooping of your private information online is a reality, whether you are using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Once signed up to any social media website like Facebook or Twitter, users willingly agree to disclose their data which can be shared with third parties or even the government if required to be disclosed. But there are apps that can secure your messaging when installed; four such secure messaging applications are shared below:

1) Wickr

Wickr claims to be a self-destructing messaging app and offers military grade encryption. It allows to send messages securely and anonymously. Your contact book will not be uploaded to their servers and remain private. It removes all records, geotags and identifying information from your messages and media. Wickr offers a configurable timer for expiration purposes in regards to the messages sent. No user data is collated and collected by the company. Wickr uses AES 256-bit encryption key for each individual messages sent. It can be downloaded for iOS from this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wickr/id528962154?mt=8 and for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mywickr.wickr2&hl=en


Use these four secure messaging apps to guard your security and privacy on your smartphones


2) Telegram

Telegram claims to offer secure messaging for every given platform, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, OSX and Windows. It offers secure messaging with end-to-end encryption, with the ability to self-destruct like Wickr. All your chats are synchronised across all devices, offering seamless integration which allows you to resume your conversation from anywhere. Its API is freely available and open to scrutiny by any security expert. Telegram offers two types of chat: one is standard without encryption and the other with AES 256-bit encryption. It is available for iOS at this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/telegram-messenger/id686449807?mt=8 and for Android: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/telegram-messenger/id686449807?mt=8

3) Signal (iOS)/ TextSecure (Android)

Endorsed by Edward Snowden, the renowned NSA whistleblower, Open Whisper Systems offers ChatSecure (Android) and Signal (iOS) secure messaging apps. Both of these work cross platform; any Signal user on iOS can message their ChatSecure counterparts using it on Android. Any messages sent from the onset from any of these above mentioned apps are encrypted by default. It offers state of the art encryption which ensures that your communication will not be intercepted in transit over the internet. Unlike other messaging apps mentioned above, Signal (iOS) and Redphone (Android) rolls out a secure calling feature as well to communicate. It does not offer any adverts, code is open source and subject to scrutiny. Signal for iOS is available on the URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/signal-private-messenger/id874139669 , ChatSecure (Android) on URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.securesms and Redphone (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.redphone&hl=en_GB

4) Bleep

Bleep is a project of the maker of the famous software Bittorrent. Simply download the app, invite your friends and you’re good to initiate the conversation. It’s a peer-to-peer app meaning none of your messages reside on the cloud; end-to-end encryption is offered by default. It also supports voice calling as a bonus! No data logs are stored in any way, it offers native apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OSX and is free to use. For iOS it is available on this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bittorrent-bleep/id941305420?mt=8 and Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bittorrent.chat&hl=en

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, July 5th, 2015

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