Sending instant messages has become a daily necessity. Millions of people around the world are sending instant messages every second. Can you imagine how important instant messaging is in people’s lives today?
The popularity of instant messaging applications makes them prone to being infiltrated by viruses/malware, being used by people for crime/fraud, or messages that are prone to leak due to being bugged by other parties. Therefore, security is an urgent need for instant messaging applications.
The current instant messaging application must at least be able to meet high-security needs so that users feel safe and comfortable in using it. Among the many chat applications available, which are the safest?
To answer this, we have summarized 5 chat applications that are claimed to be the safest in the world in terms of security. Let’s take a look at the list below.
Before being known as Signal, it was called TextSecure Private Messenger. The Signal mobile app is freely available on android, iOS, and desktop.
The security features offered by Signal include:
- End to end encryption, meaning that the message sent can only be read by the sender and receiver. Signal as a developer and the Open Whisper System that developed the encryption can’t read it. Interestingly, this end-to-end encryption is implemented not only in text messages, but also in phone calls, group messages, and video calls.
- Open Source, the coding in Signal is open source, meaning that it is free for anyone to see. The transparency helps ensure application security is always updated.
- The message disappears on its own and you can set a time limit for when the message will disappear.
- Minimum data storage i.e. phone numbers, random keys, and profile information.
- Password to lock applications for increased security.
Even though WhatsApp often made a fuss around users’ privacy issues, WhatsApp is one of the safest chat applications in the world when viewed from the technical security features it provides. What are these features?
- End-to-end encryption. Since 2016, WhatsApp has been working with the Open Whisper System to implement a super-secure encryption protocol. Sent text messages, phone calls, and video calls cannot be accessed by the other party.
- Verify Encryption. WhatsApp is also known to implement a ‘verify security code’ feature on the contact info screen so you can confirm when phone calls and videos are end-to-end encrypted. This code can be a QR code or a 60-digit number.
- Two-step verification. Two-step verification is an additional security method that is available as optional, not mandatory. Two-step verification is a numeric PIN to confirm your phone number on each device.
- Message not saved. The only time your messages are stored on WhatsApp’s servers is the period after you send them and before they are sent to recipients. If it can’t be sent for some reason, the message will be deleted from the server after 30 days.
Although technically WhatsApp security is at a high level, it does not escape the loopholes. For example, the privacy scheme that continues to whack from its parent company, Facebook. Facebook is always trying to get WhatsApp user data to give to advertisers.
Telegram’s first debut was in 2013 and until now it continues to grow steadily. Telegram claims its users reach 200 million people worldwide, both from Android and iPhone users.
Telegram is growing rapidly in the world but it is actually banned in its home country, Russia. As it turned out, Pavel Durov the founder, refused to give the encryption key to the government. Maybe that’s why the Telegram app used by terrorists such as ISIS.
Telegram’s security features include:
- End-to-end encryption via Secret Chat.
- Passcode Lock, which locks applications with a 4 digit PIN number.
- Two-step verification is additional security in the form of an SMS code and password so you can log into the app.
- Open-Source. Anyone can check the source code, protocol, and API.
- Telegram cracking contest, which is a contest for hackers who want to ‘try out’ Telegram security. The prize is 300,000 US dollars for those who are able to penetrate Telegram security.
- Self-destructing messages where the time limit can be set by the user.
- Remote log out. If you are logged in in multiple places and want to log out from each of them or log out all at once.
- Accounts are automatically deleted when you are inactive for a certain period of time (6 months by default).
(4) Apple iMessage
Apple iMessage was developed by Apple Inc. and can only be used by fellow Apple users only. Just like instant messaging apps, you can send text messages, documents, videos, contact information, and group messages.
The security features offered by iMessage include:
- End-to-end encryption applied to text messages sent to fellow iPhone users. The messages sent to Android users are not encrypted.
- Messages that disappear automatically within a time limit, or the number of times the recipient can view the message. This feature is available on iOS 10 and above.
- The message is deleted from the server after 7 days.
(5) Facebook Messenger
The Facebook social network creates a separate chat application called Facebook Messenger. Their mobile application is available for both Android and iOS users. The security features provided include:
- End-to-end encryption applied to Secret Conversation. This feature must be enabled first.
- Messages that self-destruct after a certain time limit (5 seconds to 24 hours).
These are the 5 mobile chat applications that are rated as the safest in the world. Are you a user of one of these? Or do you use all of them? To be sure, you must always pay attention to security practices when using chat applications.
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