Privacy problems? Check out the most secure messaging apps in 2023: WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, more
If you are looking for messaging apps that are secure and will protect your privacy, then you need to know about this list. It includes WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and more.
Digital privacy and data security have become essential in today's world when a majority of our day-to-day communication occurs online. We all use messaging apps where we chat with our friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances and share various kinds of information, including sensitive ones, with them. So, it is important to know whether the platform of our choice has a high focus on privacy and security or whether it is prone to data stealing. Noting the need, Avast, the cybersecurity software company, has released its list of most secure messaging apps in 2023. And we have curated the ones you can trust the most. So, let us check out the list. It includes WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Viber and Google Messages.
But before that, let us understand the basics.
What constitutes a secure messaging app
In its blog post, Avast explains, “Secure messaging apps use encryption to keep the contents of communications private and prevent unauthorized parties from accessing your chats and calls. The most secure messaging apps use end-to-end encryption, ensuring that only the message sender and recipient can see the correspondence”.
What are the risks of using a non-secure messaging app
If you're using an unencrypted messaging app, your communications could be exposed to the company running the app, advertisers, and hackers. And in case of a data breach, you could lose all of your data to malicious actors and it can even end up online. Your private information could even be sold online or used for identity theft and other cybercrimes.
With that being said, now let us move on to the most secure messaging apps of 2023.
With more than two billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps. But it is also one of the most secure. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption for both individual chats as well as group messages and ensures nobody apart from those who are participating in the conversation has access to the data. WhatsApp also offers two-step authentication and uses a limited amount of background data.
However, you should know that WhatsApp is now owned by Meta and it does shares information with other Meta companies for the purpose of targeted ads. In recent times, it has also come under scrutiny for spam text messages, scam calls, and spyware attacks.
Similar to WhatsApp, Telegram also comes with end-to-end encryption and two-step authentication. It also has a secret mode which adds another layer of protection. However, there are some caveats you should be aware of. Telegram stores all of your messages and data on a secure cloud, but it can still be hacked and your data can be stolen if the server is breached.
Further, end-to-end encryption is not turned on by default. You get it only in a secret chat mode where Telegram does not store your data on its servers.
It is considered one of the most secure messaging apps available. Signal protects your communications with end-to-end call and text encryption. Its encryption protocol is so secure that other leading apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger use it too. It also has a disappearing messages mode for added security.
The best part about it is that all the data is stored locally and not on servers, which makes it very secure against data breaches. It is an open-source platform which also means that it undergoes fairly regular security audits by independent users and institutions to help fix all its security loopholes.
Exclusive to Apple platforms, iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, and watchOS, iMessage offers end-to-end encryption between users. Data in iMessage can be backed up to Apple's cloud storage platform iCloud. Though it's a convenient way to transfer and store data, iCloud is vulnerable to hacks that could compromise your private data.
And although your messages are encrypted, phone numbers and contact lists are listed in plain text. Plus your metadata is not encrypted — leaving hackers an opening to access your device.
Facebook Messenger, owned by Meta, is a widely used messaging service with various features such as one-to-one and group messaging, stickers, photos, file transfers, voice and video calls, and disappearing messages. While it offers end-to-end encryption through the secret conversations feature, it is not enabled by default. It's important to note that both the Facebook app and Meta have had privacy and security concerns due to data collection and past data scandals.
Viber is a feature-rich encrypted messaging app that offers a range of functionalities. Viber offers the convenience of syncing across multiple devices, allowing easy accessibility from desktop and mobile.
With its end-to-end encryption, Viber ensures secure communication. It employs a distinctive color-coded indicator system to depict the level of protection in a conversation. Green indicates encrypted chat with a trusted contact, gray signifies encrypted chat with an unmarked contact, and red denotes an unauthenticated contact.
Google Messages, the default private messaging app on Android phones, utilizes the advanced RCS (rich communication services) protocol as its default mode of communication. This protocol offers enhanced security compared to traditional SMS and enables various features such as payment handling, high-resolution photo and file sharing, location sharing, and video calls.
Furthermore, Google Messages ensures end-to-end encryption as the default setting, adding an extra layer of privacy. As an open-source technology, it undergoes regular testing to identify and address vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited.
While you can access Google Messages through a web browser, it's important to note that the RCS protocol can only be used with other Android devices.
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