In today’s cyber world securing your conversations with others has become somewhat necessary. Even if you don’t do anything wrong, protecting privacy is an essential skill you have to learn.
IM (Instant Messaging) has become a very big part of today’s social life. You may not meet the person in many months but with connection to them via IM, it will be like you just met yesterday.
This also came with a threat to privacy as your personal conversations are being studied to gather data for targeted ads, and also shared with other companies to do the same.
So to make sure that you don’t get spied on and don’t become an object to target ads, the idea of the encrypted and secure messaging app service came into the spotlight.
This List contains Best and Secure Messaging apps that follow some rules.
To become a part of this list the App has to offer some features like end-to-end encryption and reliable experience with a usable UI. They have to be internet-based, and not SMS based so Silence won’t be a part of this.
Why do you need end-to-end encryption in a messaging app?
There are mainly two types of encryptions used in messaging apps.
- Server-Side Encryption
- End-to-end Encryption
Now the first one works by storing the messages in the server with a key to decrypt them saved on your account only. This might sound promising enough but they can share the data with third parties and if the government asks, they have to turn over the whole data. So even if you have the key for the data. It can be brute-forced and used to decrypt the whole data.
The other is end-to-end which is considered the best for a secure messaging app as the data is only existing between you and the sender or receiver.
This means even if the company wants to share or research the data they can’t as they simply don’t have anything.
As you can see by this we will be only talking about the apps with end to end encryption so some popular apps like skype won’t be on the list as they don’t pass the criteria.
Best Secured Messaging Apps
The below list will have pros and cons about the apps and a brief about the history of the app with privacy threats.
These are the candidates for the most secure messaging app.
#1 Signal Messenger: The Gold standard of Messaging
The signal is an open-source and nonprofit company yet it made the most secure messaging app of all time. Most of today’s app even the ones with end-to-end encryption might mine the metadata as in who talks with who and how much, but the signal messenger doesn’t do that. Even if they wanted to do that they can’t as the design of the app allows it to send the messages without the source information in a way, that only the sender can know who sent them the message so even if you intercept a packet of the sent message it is impossible to see who sent what and to whom it’s going to, and that’s not even the whole story.
The encryption they use is so good and so trusted that even the likes of Edward Snowden are not afraid to say that they use the application openly.
Whatsapp, the biggest (user base vise) secure messaging app today is built on the signal’s encryption standard.
- The gold standard of encryption
- No data collection
- Self destruct
- Calls can go through the server to hide the IP
- Can even be set as an SMS client
- No emoji
- No stickers (a few sets at the moment)
- The message is lost if the encryption keys are changed on the fly
- Not the biggest userbase
#2 Telegram: Securely Broadcast to big crowds
Telegram is a nonprofit application by the Founders of VK (Big social media platform in Russia). It uses the MTProto Protocol to communicate, which is developed by one of the Founders Nikolai Durov who himself is a mathematician.
This app was built on security. It does store the data in the cloud but still is encrypted in a way that it is not useful to anyone without the client key. The keys are not generated on the server nor stored on the server.
And as for the end-to-end secret chats they don’t even exist on the server so handing them over is not a question. Aside from that a very useful feature that made it a big hit was the ability to create channels of about 200,000 peoples max which was very helpful during the protest of Hong Kong. As they used the app to mass communicate and protect the identity from the government.
With the promise to the privacy of the customers, the founders have said that telegram will never sell data to generate Funds. if such time comes, they will ask users to donate.
- Massive Channel capacity
- Independent client on both desktop and mobile
- Funded by the founders so no need to share data to make money
- Large file sharing (1.5 GB max)
- No video calling
- Smaller user database then WhatsApp
- Notification on the joining of a contact
#3 WhatsApp: Biggest secure messaging app
The big guy in this group is WhatsApp. With a 200 million user base, this monster of the apps is owned by Facebook. This app is built with the encryption of the signal group and a big reason why it is somewhat trustworthy despite being owned by Facebook, who doesn’t quite have the reputation for being the secure kid in the block. With scandals like Cambridge Analytica and multiple data leaks of giant sizes, this raises some questions.
As of now, WhatsApp looks good. But there is a catch though. It’s Facebook so, they will collect some data. They can’t trace the data but they can still trace the metadata to see who is talking to who and how much, which is ignored because of the user base they boast.
I would personally have an alternative ready if WhatsApp ever goes rogue.
- Encryption of the signal group
- Huge user base
- Web interface
- Collection of metadata
- Owned by Facebook
- Limit of 256 People in a single group
- Lack of customization
#4 Wickr Me: Leader in secure communication of teams
Wickr app has an approach for industries because of its features like secure file sharing, advanced admin controls, and end-to-end encrypted messages as well as voice and video communication. Integration with platforms like Git, Zendesk and thousands more. Military Grade (claimed by the company) encryption and features like a burn on reading make this app truly an enterprise-centered communication messenger. Data Shredder is also an important feature that overwrites the data on your device to ensure that no data is left behind to trace.
This was very worthy of the crown of the most secure messaging app but the paid service for the admin control panel and calls was just not the option we wanted when the signal is already available.
- No user or metadata collection
- Integration with many services
- Admin control panel to control the usage
- You have to pay for voice and video calls and admin control panel.
#5 Dust: Most Feature-rich secure Messaging app
Dust may not use the strongest encryption or not boast a big user base but the list of features it boasts is actually great.
No storage on the server, you can delete others’ messages, protection from screenshots by default, Messages get deleted in 100 seconds of seeing the Message or as they call it (Turn to dust). All this looks pretty good on paper but with a tiny amount of people using it, this has not been the popular one but still deserved to be on the list of secure messaging apps because of the features.
Other than that it has a very great UI in terms of animations and color schemes but the user experience has a bit of a learning curve to it.
- Delete messages from both sides
- No server storage
- Stealth Search (Browser) and Watchdog (Data breach monitor) included
- Auto delete messages
- Great UI
- Small user base
- Enigma to understand
- Not nonprofit so collects some data
- Not open source
- No Desktop App or interface
What’s the go-to app to recommend people searching for the best secure messaging app?
No questions asked.
The Best Messaging App.
The amazing encryption and the trust of millions of cybersecurity researchers and probably the safest and best way of secure messaging.
If you have any apps which you think should be on this list but is not there. Do tell us about that in the comment section.