Our messages are not as private as we think they are, it’s getting harder to keep the prying eyes away from our private messages. With all the recent accusations and revelations on spying the common people, the ‘privacy’ has become a precious commodity that everyone wants to treasure. Messaging is an important means of communication and chat messengers are the medium to make the conversation easy and quick. This instant messaging is favored by people over emails and text messaging via SMS.
The need for a secure messaging application arises as we want an app that will let us exchange private information with our clients, employees, and co-workers in a secure manner. As people are becoming more and more concerned about security so in order to be the best messaging app it also has to be the most secure one.
Right now, there are two major trends that are starting to appear, first being the Business-class secure messaging systems that include Centralized Enterprise control. Second, where morphing of Static messaging apps is done into complete Broadcasting systems. These systems can further distribute different types of content and erase all traces of this activity once it has been read. But what does this security actually means?
Basically, encryption can be defined as a way to secure the messages meaning the user’s message will be encrypted before they even leave the device. These encrypted messages that are sent cannot be read by anyone other than the intended recipient. According to a recent report, it is estimated that due to a rapid increase in the cybercrime there will be over a loss of over a $1 Trillion in coming year or two.
Below are mentioned some of the most secure Chat Messengers with an explanation of their security measure:
Not each and every app follows the same security mechanism in order to keep the privacy of the user intact. The Consumer Demand of end-users for strong encryption is driving Giant Tech Companies to reassure the consumers that there won’t be any threat to their private conversation.
Wickr is one of those chat services that has been around for quite some time, making it among the first few secure chat messenger of all time. It is available for both Android as well as iOS and features an encrypted way for the teams and enterprises to communicate with one another. This end-to-end encryption can also strip of the MetaData like the timestamp from the conversations. In ‘wickr me’ the messages can be also programmed to a self-destruct mode i.e. after a certain period of time has expired. This IM app also consists of a handy WIPE feature to securely erase the messages and has software called the Wickr Pro.
Launched in the year 2013, Telegram quickly rose to popularity as a free chat messenger that provided multi-platform support including platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. This feature allowed the user to easily sync the chat conversations across several devices including tablets as well as desktops too. Telegram also has an excellent feature known as the ‘Secret Chats’ by which conversations are encrypted and can be only accessed on the same device where the user started the chat. The only drawback this app has is that it’s more like a cloud platform than an app.
Signal Private Messenger
‘Signal’ previously known as ‘TextSecure Private Messenger’ and considered by many who took the whole security levels a notch-higher. This privacy-conscious Instant Messaging app comes from Open Whisper Systems that provide an end-to-end encryption and a user-friendly interface. A majority of business users favor Signal because it allows users to set up encrypted groups for private conversations. Since it uses the user’s existing Phone No. and Address Book; you don’t have to even remember any extra username or passwords. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal does not record the Meta Data of messages so if you back up your phone this app doesn’t store any copy of the messages.
This app supports Off-the-Record messaging with the XMPP Protocol. One of its features is for allowing the use of ‘Tor’ which conceals the user’s location while messaging the contacts. Unfortunately, ChatSecure app is only available for iOS. Before starting the conversation the user will see a Digital Fingerprint that will be checked with the expected recipient. This step is to make sure that no one id intercepting the conversation between the respective users. One useful tip is to use the Tor Hidden service over the XMPP server to keep the messages entirely in the Dark Web which is way more secure.
Features to tighten the security of your Chat
There are currently way too many messaging apps some of them being Snapchat, WhatsApp, Hangouts and a ton many more. With the increase in surveillance activities with Data Retention Laws being implemented worldwide, it has become necessary to secure our private data. And to take over this issue, the major tech pioneers have updated their apps with the encryption techniques to secure the user communication.
One of the most effective features is SLS that is the Session-Level Security, which is a Unique Key that is generated for each session. This further allows each and every message to have its own key. When SLS is used, all chat messages exchanged over the conversation can only be read by the respective recipient. Using a PIN or Passcode the previous messages can also be derived from their encrypted form by using a separate key. This also allows sending messages in the offline mode which get stored and sent when the mode is online again.
We at ChromeInfotech have developed a lot of our projects according to Security Guidelines that are recommended security controls for Information Systems. You can step up your security game by reinforcing your existing encryption mechanisms. This can be done by applying those cryptographic measures that are designed with a futuristic perspective of few years ahead.