The Best Messaging Apps for Privacy and Security in 2021
If you would experience discomfort to understand that your messages have been intercepted and accessed by hackers, ISPs, government, or cybercriminals, you will surely like to do something to avoid a repeat.
Then, the only option is to go for a messaging app that will guarantee much-needed privacy and security. These are precisely messaging apps that are end-to-end encrypted. End-to-end encryption means that your private chat messages are scrambled in such a way that they cannot be deciphered by any third party, not even the makers of the app.
Encryption prevents apps from storing copies of your messages on their servers. It is only the sender and receiver of the message that can decrypt or read them. This ensures that only you and the person you’re conversing with can peruse the messages. It is, therefore, necessary to pry into the best messaging apps that provide protection, privacy, and security.
What is Secure Messaging?
A secure messaging app is one that has the following features:
i. End-to-end encryption: Ensures that only the parties involved in messaging, I.e,the sender and receiver can read the message.
The safest and most secure form of messaging is such that from the moment you type the message, till the time the message is received by the recipient, no one else can see the message. When messages are encrypted, they cannot be stored anywhere, not even on the server.
ii. Multimode: Multimode communication enables you to send messages in various forms such as texts, audio, and video. When messages are sent through different platforms, multimode allows such messages to be deleted at users’ discretion.
iii. Synchronization: Secure messages are known for being synchronized into mobile web and desktop platforms. You may like to store private messages in one location and delete them through another. This will improve the security of data.
Now let’s look at some of the best messaging apps for privacy and security in contemporary times.
Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps known widely. It is free and used by a lot of people for secure and encrypted means of communication. Its privacy-assured technology comes by default and is always enabled. This is done to ensure that there can never be a mistake of sending a message to the wrong recipient.
The core value of the app has always been encryption ever since it was bought by Twitter. Its messaging app consists of end-to-end encrypted voice calls and messaging. Signal gives you a unique opportunity to choose different intervals you would like your messages to disappear from different conversations you saved in your chat history.
Signal is an Open source application that does no advertising nor affiliate marketing and does not condone secret tracking. The owners of Signal do not even have the means to decrypt users’ messages and therefore can never have access to your message.
The main features of Signal as mentioned are:
- Open source protocol
- Group chat
- View-once media
- Self destructing messages after a given interval
- Uses phone data connection
Signal can be described, albeit arguably, as the best messaging app, overall.
Wire is a highly secure chat app. It is one of the few apps that come with default end-to-end encryption to secure messages, files, and images. Every message on Wire comes with an encryption key so that no single key can be compromised.
It is completely Open source, which means its source is open to verification, inspection, and scrutinization by users to ensure integrity. Wire does not sell its user’s data to third parties. The company is situated in Switzerland and adheres to strict privacy laws of the Swiss and EU.
Wire’s key features include:
- Timed and short lived conversation
- One hundred percent Open source
- Group chat
Wire is free for personal use but attracts payment by large organizations. The number of users are large as it runs into hundreds of thousands.
Telegram requires that both parties in conversation should have a telegram app. That’s the only time communication is encrypted. With telegram, group chats, and voice calls involve end-to-end encryption. It has the facility to self-destruct messages, files, photos, and videos within a certain time frame after being sent and received.
Its Secret Chat when activated can enable you to delete messages from the other side of the secret chat if you wish. Chats from Telegram are device-specific. You can access them only from the device it originated. This implies that if your device is secure, your secret chat will also be secure.
The main features of the Telegram are:
- Private messages can self destruct
- It has servers spread and distributed globally for security and speed.
- It has Open API and protocol
- No limits on the size of media and chats
- It can accommodate groups of more than 200,000 members.
- You can set timers to destroy messages
- You can send documents of any type
Telegram comes at no cost and is currently used by more than two hundred million people.
When it comes to collaboration, WickerMe is the most secure and private. It enables you to communicate one-to-one or as a group with full encryption on text messages, voice messages, and memes. Wicker is not just a messaging app, but a tool for collaboration because you can share your locations, screen, and your online status in collaboration with others.
Wicker does not require your email address or phone number for registration. It enables encryption by default and sends reports about its transparency to users. It can also alert you when someone takes a screenshot of your messages. Wicker app uses Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) and it supports two-factor authentication and does not log IP addresses or metadata.
Some of its main features are:
- It self destructs messages
- It comes with Open source protocol
- It can search across all apps and messages
- It can create teams and networks
- It can retain data up to 30 days
- It comes with four plans: Basic(free),Silver($4.99) Gold($9.99) and Platinum plan($25)
Threema is aptly dedicated to secure messaging and lays emphasis on restraining metadata. To ensure that your data is not misused, the servers delete your messages automatically, immediately it has been delivered to the recipient.
This app ensures there is no room for tapping information because any information sent to the server is managed on your device. Nobody else can read any message sent by Threema because it can never revert to decrypted connections.
Threema is Open source. This means on your own, you can check the validity or efficacy of the encryption. To ensure additional security, Threema does not require you to sign in with your email or phone number.
The salient features of Threema are:
- It can create polls and chats anonymously
- It can develop distribution lists
- It can hide confidential chats and use passwords to protect them.
- It can also verify contacts using QR code
Threema costs a paltry $2.99 and is used by four million-plus users.
Viber is more useful when you want to communicate with people in order countries if you wish to travel abroad or you’re engaged in a lot of international calls and messages. It is also good for normal chatting. Viber is compatible with MacOS, Android, iOS, and Harmony OS.
It is meant to compete with Skype which happens to be less secure. Viber has the following as its key features:
- It is user-friendly
- All its available platforms have E2EE(Macos,Windows,iOS and Android)
- It no longer deploy the colour-coding system of red, green and grey which used indicate the level of encryption as it used to do before.
- The facility to self-destruct messages are enabled on one-on-one chats and not only on secret chats.
- Group chats and one-on-one chats have end-to-end encryption.
Viber has a community made up of a group of people that chat on the Viber platform. But incidentally, messages within the Viber community are not encrypted. It boasts of a community of millions of users.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple said,” Apple believes that privacy is a fundamental human right.’’ This notion has not been compromised in any of the Apple messaging and Facetime apps.
Apple messages can only be used on Apple devices. This means that any message sent to another device using Apple cannot be assured of the desired end-to-end encryption.
Apple messaging enables you to have control over how long your message can stay in the device of the recipient and how many times the recipient can view the message. Anyway, this feature is only limited to iOS 10 and above.
No matter the type of Apple brand you’re using, whether iOS or ipadOS, your message enjoys end-to-end encryption and cannot be accessed without a passcode.
The key features of Apple messaging are that:
- Encryption is only compliant with Apple device.
- Apple imessages have the capacity to self destruct
- Messages are backed by iCloud
Apple takes privacy seriously, especially on its Messages and Face time apps but users are advised not to store messages on web-based platforms such as iCloud.
Dust is a texting app that is available on Android and iOS devices. it is highly encrypted and can be used to send messages, videos, and photos to recipients. The messages disappear immediately after reading. Dust does not have Open source coding, and it does not encrypt video or voice messages, but only text messages and photo messages are encrypted.
Dust app uses RAM which cannot store data for a long time. As such your messages are not saved on your device or on the app’s servers. It also enables you to delete your messages from the recipient’s end if you like. Dust has an auto-dust, a feature that ensures that messages are erased automatically after 24 hours.
It has the following as its main features:
- It deletes messages after 24 hours
- It has option to unsend messages
- It can detect and notify you when someone takes screenshot of your messages
- Conversations are highly encrypted• Has facility for unlimited group chats
Silence is a messaging app with high security. It is primarily designed for sending SMS and MMS messages. The app pulled out from Signal and began to focus on end-to-end encryption for SMS and MMS.
Being just a text-chatting app,it does not require an internet connection, instead, it relies on GSM. In this case, you can replace your regular messaging app with Signal to protect SMS messages.
Its server does not store your data in any way, and as such only you and the recipients have access to your messages. Silence operates with Open source code which ensures transparency and integrity. It is only available on Android and iOS.
To get optimum benefit, the sender and receiver must have the Silence app installed on their device. Its key features are:
- It does not make use of server or internet.
- It has Open source code• It does not log data
10. Cover me
Cover me is a popular free messaging app that makes use of end-to-end encryption. The app is free and available for storage on Apple store and Google Play Store. Cover me can work wherever there is active Wi-Fi and can be used to send SMS and make calls.
You can use it over EDGE as it does not require 3G or 4G. As long as there is an active internet connection, you can use it. Cover me comes with a burner line with different area codes to conceal your real phone number. This ensures anonymity if you want to send text messages or make calls.
It has a private vault for extra security. You can use this vault to store your files, video, passwords, and photos. Cover me is unique. You can also hide your messages just by shaking your phone. Cover me has these as its main features:
- Availability of private vault
- It can self- destruct messages
- Highly effective end-to-end encryption.
Key Take- Away
The world has become a ’small’ village to the extent of security that what happens at a particular place would be captured in a few seconds by people separated by wide distance due to the advent of technology.
The same applies to messaging. If not well protected and secured, messages meant for a particular destination or recipient may be intercepted by intruders, cybercriminals, hackers, and the government. Therefore, not a few would like their messages to be secure and private.
This is why messaging apps that guarantee privacy and security are highly sought after currently. Secure messages provide end-to-end encryption, self-destruct and Open code. You should look out for these features before you select a messaging app for assured security and privacy..