whether you ‘ve an iphone or android, these secure messaging apps will make yr digital privacy their top priority.
not all messaging apps are created =. while some take extra steps to protect yr messages, others ‘d cutout yr data vulnerable to hackers. b4 you hit the “send” button, read up on why secure messaging apps are safer than sms messaging, how the apps work, and which apps are the best to use for iphones and androids. these mistakes ‘d make yr phone an easy target for hackers, too.
how secure is sms texting?
sms, which stands for “short messaging srvc,” is a form of text messaging twas' created inna 1990s and is still used on most devices tody. unfortunately, tis not a very secure way of communicating, experts say. “it’s fairly easy to intercept the content of an sms message, so it’s really not an appropriate medium for sensitive data,” says thomas reed, director of mac and mobile at malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company. wha’’s +, copies offa message can linger on yr device, the recipient’s device, na carrier’s servers long after you send the text—potentially putting yr data at risk. all android devices use sms messages, but this security issue affects iphone and android usrs alike, experts say. although apple’s imessage system is + secure than sms, iphone owners must still deliver sms messages to those who do not ‘ve apple devices.
secure messaging apps
unlike sms messaging, imessage nother chatting apps ‘ve several security and privacy features that can prevent usrs’ data from falling inna'da wrong hands. secure messaging apps offer encryption for all communication on their platforms, swell as a disappearing messages feature that automatically deletes conversations after a certain amount of time. they also do not back up chats on their platforms, so once yr messages are deleted, “they are just gone. poof,” says mike weber, vp of innovation at coalfire, a cybersecurity company. here’s Y-U ‘d be worried bout smartphone apps stealing yr data.
wha’ is encryption? wha’ are encrypted messages?
encrypting a message converts the text into a form that 1-ly the sender and recipient can read. “if some1 manages to intercept the data—by monitoring the wi-fi or cellular signal, for ex—they can’t crack it,” reed says. they maybe able to see the names of the sender and receiver, but they won’t be able to read the contents o'their messages. the type of encryption used depends onna lvl of security needed. “encryption can be implemented in simple ciphers, s'as the “decoder ring” used by ralphie in a christmas story, to complex mathematical algorithms that ‘d take decades to decrypt without the key,” weber says.
how end-to-end encryption works
with end-to-end encryption, both the sender and receiver use an exclusive key that encrypts and decrypts messages. “using these key pairs provides the assurance that nobody that intercepts that message can decrypt it, even iffey had the key that the sender used to encrypt it,” weber says. these keys are almost impossible to crack, according to experts. even “a brute force attack, which tries to decrypt the data by cycling through all possible encryption keys, ‘d not be able to break the encryption with our current lvl of tek within the lifetimes of any-1 currently alive,” reed says.
wha’ are the best secure messaging apps for iphone and android?
all secure messaging apps ‘ve pros and cons, but some offer + protection than others. while imessage automatically encrypts messages, even apple usrs ‘d ponder downloading a secure messaging app, experts say. why? “if you use the imessage client to send to a usr that doesn’t support it, 'twill nd'2 be delivered as an sms message,” according to weber. experts recommend the folloing messaging apps, all of which are available for both iphones and androids. you’ll wanna steal these secrets from pplz who never get hacked, too.
for iphone usrs, communicating securely is simple. imessage encrypts every message sent through its platform, so yr data is always protected when communicating with other apple usrs. apple also cannot access usrs’ messaging data, unless the usr backs the messages up to icloud—and even then, the messages stored inna backup are encrypted. if ur concerned bout apple bein’ able to access yr stored messages, just be sure to back up yr phone to a well-secured computer instead of icloud, reed says. b4 starting the backup, learn how to delete everything on yr iphone.
signal is highly respected by cybersecurity experts fritz security features. the app “has zero ability to gain access to their customers’ data,” says nathan collier, a senior malware intelligence analyst at malwarebytes. however, reed notes that signal requires usrs to connect their phone № to the app, which is a potential drawback.
g hangouts, by comparison, is a less secure option than signal or wha’sapp. while g hangouts uses encryption like other secure messaging apps, it encrypts its messages “in transit,” tch'mins g has access to the plain text message and ‘d provide the messages to the police if ordered by a court, collier says. experts ‘d never ‘ve these apps on their smartphones, either.
other messaging apps, s'as wire and wickr, are lesser-known b'tll so provide end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages. cyber dust, a social messaging app owned by mark cuban, offers a feature that makes messages disappear 30 2nds after the recipient reads them. but for now, all 3 do not ‘ve enough usrs to make downloading them worthwhile, experts say.
reed recommends 3ma, which is a german app witha one-time purchase of $2.99. tis not widely used inna ∪d states, but it doesn’t require you to share any personal information and allos you to verify contacts through the app, he says. the 1-ly downside s'dat tis less pop, so usrs can’t communicate with many o'their contacts through the app. “if you can convince all yr friends to buy a copy of 3ma, i’d say it ‘d be the most secure and private app o'em all,” reed says. here’s how to arm yrself against the top security threats of smartphones—no app required.
original content at: www.rd.com…
authors: brooke nelson