Messaging is one technological advance that most cannot live without. But most of us would like to rest assured that what we type will be for the eyes of the receiver only, and not a mysterious third party. Regardless of paranoia or worry about hacking, encryption is a sure fire way to protect messages as they leave your finger tips. End-to-end encryption ensures that only the sender and the recipient can read the message. The message is first encrypted on your phone, then sent, and decrypted on the receiving side. Telecom providers, government agencies, and the company that hosts the service itself, cannot read your messages. The provider couldn’t even hand over messages if subpoenaed, because the provider would not have the ability. Hackers that infiltrate the service platform still would not be able to read your encrypted messages.
This sounds almost too good to be true, and not all encryption services are created equal. Encrypted, does not imply end-to-end encryption. Services that encrypt messages between endpoints of transmission, means that conversations are stored encrypted on the platform’s servers, which is not entirely bad. However, since the platform encrypted them they can also decrypt them.
The best end-to-end encryption services on the market today are as follows:
Telegram – Has been around for a while now, which might aid with the biggest hang up on the app, inviting all your friends to join. This over-the-top service does not have the ubiquity of SMS messaging. The app does allow for individual messaging, group messaging for an unlimited number of users, or even public group messaging for a social network feel.
Signal – This is one of the easier applications to set up, automatically authenticating your phone number. It can be used as your default SMS application as well, eliminating hurdles found with over-the-top services. The color custimization for conversations helps with communication clarity, aka not sending the wrong text to the wrong conversation. In addition to private conversations and group conversations with unlimited users, this application also makes calls.
Wire – Wire is a cool alternative for the user that wants message encryption and creative license. The application allows for doodling, location sharing, image sending, and video recording. Despite the feature initiatives, the application doesn’t support some of the escalated group messaging features, and is best used for private one-on-one conversations.
WhatsApp – By far the most popular, this application offers end-to-end encryption and the lure of over a billion users. Hopefully meaning less people you have to convince to install and use a different messaging service. The application is owned by Facebook, which just recently announced they would be using phone numbers and some other account information from WhatsApp. Hmm. Despite worry, the application proves to be a user friendly messaging alternative.
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