Texting enables us to stay connected no matter where we are, most standard text messaging apps like iMessage and WhatsApp don’t offer end-to-end encryption. It means that our conversations are visible to third parties like app companies, hackers, and even government agencies. If you value your privacy and want to keep your messages secure, encrypted messaging is the way to go. The majority of messaging apps use end-to-end encryption to scramble messages so only the sender and recipient read them. Even if messages are intercepted, they will appear as unreadable code to unauthorized parties.
The app features end-to-end encryption for messages and calls, Signal is widely considered the most secure and privacy-focused messaging app. It has an intuitive interface and supports group chats. WhatsApp automatically encrypts messages and media. It has a very large global user base, so it’s easy to get contacts on-board. However, it does store some metadata. Telegram provides a suite of encrypted messaging options on desktop and mobile. Secret chats use end-to-end encryption. Telegram stores very little user data and is popular internationally.
This app offers encrypted, ephemeral messaging. Messages automatically delete themselves which provides added security and discretion for sensitive conversations. Confide allows you to send encrypted messages that disappear after they are read. The app also obscures message content as you type so onlookers snoop on your screen. Through end-to-end encryption, ephemeral messaging, and added security features like screenshot blocking, Wickr Me aims to keep your conversations ultra-secure.
Effective encrypted communication
Encrypted messaging apps provide the technology, but it’s equally important to apply good communication habits to optimize your secure conversations:
- Clarify meanings – Since protected text messages are self-delete in many encrypted apps, clarify definitions, acronyms, pronunciations, or slang terms that could be misunderstood. Confirm understandings.
- Avoid assumptions – Don’t assume context. Describe necessary background details and explain thought processes since previous messages are not accessible.
- Check responses – Look for visual cues, responses, or confirmations that your message was received and understood correctly. Follow up if needed.
- Notify contacts – Inform your contacts that you are switching to an encrypted messaging app and advise them to download it before your first encrypted chat.
- Stay on topic – Encrypted messaging is not the place for casual chatter or memes. Keep conversations focused on more serious subject matter taking advantage of the security features.
- Review safety tips – Read your app’s safety recommendations so you understand how to use the encryption features to your advantage for maximum security.
- Turn on screenshots – Some apps block screenshots automatically, but enable this option wherever possible to prevent third parties from capturing ephemeral messages via screenshots.
Encrypted messaging apps provide tremendous advantages in terms of privacy, security, and control over your conversations. Following best practices for encrypted communication also enables you to zero in on topics that matter and have serious discussions with clarity. Give encrypted messaging a try the next time you need to have an important sensitive conversation over text. The ability to communicate freely and using end-to-end encryption will bring confidence and focus to your interactions. Your future self will thank you for keeping your messages secure and private.