Facebook messaging swiped a play from WhatsApp when they offered Secret Conversations in 2016. Since then, several apps have introduced secure messaging promising end-to-end encryption.
End-to-end encryption is a method of encrypting data so only the sender and recipient can decrypt and read the message. Your mother can't read it (unless she makes you open your phone and hand it to her, of course) and neither can the government, since any messages stored on the messaging vendor's server is encrypted.
There are a lot of apps used for messaging without any regard for end-to-end encryption. Some popular ones that have no encryption on messages include:
- Facebook Messenger
(Facebook Messenger offers the ability to opt-in to end-to-end encryption, but out of the box the way most people use it, it's not secure.)
So, what apps can you use to securely message someone else? Here are the most popular ones, and the first may surprise you!
- Messages (previously called iMessage) – On Apple devices, the messaging app that allows you to send standard SMS messages will automatically switch to secure end-to-end encryption when conversing with another Apple device. These end-to-end encrypted messages will show in blue message bubbles, whereas traditional unsecured text messages will show in green bubbles.
- WhatsApp – This is a grandaddy of end-to-end encrypted messaging services. Facebook has owned them since 2014, so you decide if you want to use it. :-)
- Signal – Released in 2014 (interesting coincidence?!?), Signal's technology is open source, so it's been vetted by cyber security experts. I think this is one of the best secure messaging apps on the market that is platform-independent (i.e., it'll work on an Android as well as an Apple device).
Taking security seriously is a smart move for all of us. Having a great partner who works constantly to keep you secure is even better. If you'd like to have a conversation about your cyber security and how you can improve, feel free to schedule a call.