Ever since WhatsApp announced – or perhaps “overhyped” – its end-to-end encryption for chats, many users continue to ask on forums if it is the safest app around. WhatsApp claims no-one can virtually snoop on private WhatsApp conversations.
Presently, three instant-messaging services claim to use “enhanced measures”, or encryption, to ensure privacy – WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. In this article, we will tell you which service is the best among the three, when it comes to privacy.
“By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5,000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other ‘weaponized’ malware.
Keeping aside the CIA threat, we would now like to rank the three apps under three tags – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, depending on their effectiveness.
Signal’s interface and encryption protocol make it the most reliable and secure app on the market. Also, Signal’s encryption protocol has been lauded by some of the computer security experts.
Even voice calls on Signal are encrypted. Screenshots can be disabled on the app by going into the “Privacy” settings in the app and toggling the “screen security” option to the right. It also has a “passphrase” option in the “Privacy” menu, which sets a password for opening the app, so no one else can access the app on your phone.
Pros Of Signal
Cons Of Signal
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WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app. After it released the end-to-end encryption for private chats, the app has received a positive response from everywhere. But if privacy is all that matters to you then it would be better for you to stick to Signal. However, if your friends are reluctant to install Signal, WhatsApp could be the second choice.
WhatsApp has a long list of features such as voice calling, video calling, GIF support, thousands of emojis, a Snapchat-like status feature, and much more. However, when it comes to privacy, regardless of end-to-end encryption, it is not as clean as Signal.
- End-to-end encryption of messages ensures privacy.
- Almost all your contacts are using it.
- User-friendly interface with new features.
- Default security settings encrypts every message automatically
- Constant threat of data misuse by Facebook.
- Not open-source, which means the backend is controlled by Facebook – not an ideal setting for privacy.
The Ugly: Telegram
Telegram is touted to be a safe and secure app, but the reality is far from that. The app only uses encryption when the user chooses the “Secret” mode. This means default messages on Telegram are transferred over Telegram’s unencrypted servers.
Even in Secret mode, Telegram’s encryption model has not been praised very much. So if you are all for privacy, then it would be better to steer clear of Telegram.
- Clean interface.
- Privacy-focused features such as disappearing messages.
- Free and convenient large file sharing.
- Not fully open-source even though its API is open-source. The backend is still run by Telegram.
- End-to-end encryption is only for “Secret Chats”. Default chats have zero encryption.
- The user-base is way smaller than WhatsApp, which means only some of your friends might be using it.