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July 25, 2019

What to Look For in Secure Message Apps

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Two hundred years ago, we sent messages by written letter. Then we moved to the telegraph followed soon by the telephone. When we invented the internet, communication was revolutionized once more. We were able to send messages instantly around the world in the form of email. Texting became a possibility, and now, the most popular form of communication worldwide is the instant message. There are dozens, of messaging apps out there, from Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp. However, while convenient, many don’t offer the level of privacy that should be afforded to what are meant to be private messages. So what should you be looking for in secure message apps? Let’s take a look at what a messaging app should include and which ones are the best to use in 2019.

What Should An App Include?

The keyword you should watch out for when deciding between messaging apps is “end-to-end encryption.” What this term means is that only the people involved in a conversation can see it. From the time a message is typed, to the time it spends in transit, to the moment it’s received, no one else can see that message, including the company who developed the app in the first place. It’s currently the safest, most private method of messaging. If an app is not end-to-end encrypted, consider it to be non-private.

The King of Secure Message Apps: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is currently the most popular messaging app in the world, with more than one billion downloads from Android’s Play Store. It offers group chats and voice calls, file sharing, and the ability to delete messages even after they’ve been sent. And, WhatsApp also offers the all important end-to-end encryption. However, the app is owned by Facebook which is commonly in the news for breaching privacy so keep that in mind if WhatsApp is your messenger of choice.

Signal

Signal is another of the secure message apps that offers end-to-end encryption. You can use the app for instant messaging, voice and video calls, and even SMS. Be cautious if you use the SMS service: all members of the conversation have to be using Signal for the end-to-end encryption to function.

Telegram

Have you ever wanted to have a group chat with 100,000 people? Well, that’s an option if you use Telegram. This app includes features similar to Signal (including all members of a chat needing to use the app for the encryption to work), and it also includes the addition of self-destructing messages. One thing users need to remember is that encryption must be turned on in the settings to work.

Wickr Me

Wickr’s messaging app meets encryption standards set by the US National Security Agency, and is one of the safest apps on this list. You can use the app to securely send messages, photos and images. In addition to their stringent encryption features, you can set all messages to auto-destruct, ask the app to require a password every time it’s opened, and set it to prevent screenshots.

Threema

Threema is a newer application that’s beginning to gain traction as one of the best secure message apps. You don’t have to provide an email or phone number to sign up, which helps offer you an extra layer of security. With Threema, as soon as a message is read, it’s deleted from the company’s servers. Unlike the other entries on this list, users have to pay a small fee to download it.

Viber

Viber was once only available on iOS devices but has now been released on Android’s Play Store as well. It works in a similar way to Skype. End-to-end encryption is a relatively new addition to the app. What’s unique about their security is that every chat is colour-coded based on its current level of encryption. Viber also uses elements of social media, by allowing users to play games, follow public accounts, and more.

Silence

Silence was once known as SMS Secure. Today, the end-to-end encrypted app works much like an SMS application. You can use the messaging system even if you aren’t connected to the internet on your phone. You also don’t have to sign up with log in credentials. Finally, the app is open source so any concerned users can check the code for vulnerabilities.


Keep your messaging secure with end-to-end encryption. You can also make sure your browsing remains secure by using a virtual private network like HotBot VPN.

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