Does The Best Encrypted Messenger Exist?

by Klaus on December 2, 2019

in Security

What do we mean by saying ‘best encrypted messenger’? You may think ‘the one that encrypts messages better than others’. However, there is a huge list of requirements for a messenger to be called that way. With this article, you will learn what these requirements are and what messenger is considered to be the most secure.

General requirements

#1 Messages and attachments de-risk

Some messengers do encrypt all your messengers, leaving out of account the one vital part – its attachments. Thus, all the intimate photos you send to your spouse, all business plans and reports you send to your boss, drafts you send to your publisher – all are put in peril if you neglect the security of attachments. So you either should watch out for it yourself, or choose a messenger which will do it for you.

#2 Not providing intelligence agencies with your data

There are messengers which reveal users’ data to specialized institutions in case of special request. That means that in case the government or court asks for it, they will disclose all the info related to a certain user. It makes sense to use such messengers, which claim not to do that. And what’s even better – not to take devs’ words but use a messenger which is decentralized (the data isn’t stored on central servers). Thus, even their strong determination wouldn’t help then get that information.

#3 Transparency reports

The transparency report is the report in which a messenger’s team reveals the information regarding the numbers and statistics on governmental requests for users’ data, content restrictions, any kinds of disruptions and so on.

If messenger management provides the public with such reports, you can estimate the level of credibility of a messenger. In any case, it’s great if a messenger does that.

#4 The funding received

That’s too obvious: if a messenger belongs and is founded by a big corporation like Google, Apple, Facebook, that’s bad. They are parties in interest. They want your data. Thus, pay attention to messengers, which do not bear any relations to huge companies. 

#5 Users’ data collection

We’ve already touched upon this question a little bit. If a messenger is centralized, it collects all info on a central server, which is bad security and privacy arrangement. If a messenger is decentralized, its servers are scattered all over the world, it’s better, but still, surveillance happens. The safest messengers are peer-to-peer – each user is the server itself. Thus, any interception takes no place.

#6 Encryption by default

It’s not a crucial point, but it’s better if the encryption is applied by default. Thus, you don’t have to turn it on manually.

#7 Anonymous registration

The ability to sign up without providing personal data – phone number, email address, real name, d.o.b., etc – is an additional advantage of a messenger. Thus, you stay entirely incognito.

#8 Self-destructing messages

If they are enabled, it’s great – you can control the messages safety by yourself, setting the time of its availability for a receiver. However, even if there is no such a feature, it doesn’t mean that a messenger is insecure (especially if it meets all the mentioned above requirements.)

What’s the best encrypted messenger?

Threema – Swiss quality messenger. It encrypts both messengers and attachments by default; it isn’t founded by any company (users pay for it); it applies good encryption – Curve25519 256, XSalsa20 256, Poly1305-AES 128; but doesn’t support self-destructing messages.

Signal – American messenger, is founded by Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and some other; also encrypts both chats and attachments, applies Curve25519, AES-256, HMAC-SHA256 encryption; there is a function of sending self-destructed messengers.

Wire – another Swiss app, also encrypts messages and attachments, provides transparency reports; applies Curve25519, ChaCha20, HMAC-SHA256 decent encryption, self-destructing messages are enabled as well.

It’s not necessary to use exactly these messengers if you want to communicate safely and in private. Quite often, new messengers and security solutions appear. It is worth continue searching for the best messenger.

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