Website Tips: Secured Messaging Platforms

If you use Skype, Facebook chat, Whatsapp or any other Instant Messaging platforms on a regular basis, you might want to look for a more secure alternative. It goes double if you actually talk about things that require privacy. This is because the EFF evaluated 39 of the most popular messaging applications to date and found all of them wanting, unable to protect the user from the government’s ever-watchful eyes.

The EFF did recommend a few digital communications that are truly safe and secure due to the use of secure and “usable crypto.” These EFF-recommended tools include:

1. ChatSecure + Orbot (free, iOS and Android)
2. CryptoCat (free, iOS and Web-browsers)
3. Signal / RedPhone (iOS and Android)
4. Silent Phone (paid, iOS and Android)
5. Silent Text (paid, iOS and Android)
6. TextSecure (Android)
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The qualities that the EFF were looking for include the ability to encrypt data on transit, encryption that will make it so that the provider can’t read messages, the ability to verify contacts’ identities, secure past communications in the event of stolen keys, code that’s open to independent review, proper documentation, and audited code.

All the popular communication tools like Facebook chat, Google Hangouts, Skype, and WhatsApp failed all of EFF’s requirements except for encryption in transit and audited code. The exception is Skype, which failed audited code but passed the requirement for encryption so that the provider can’t read messages.

EFF’s findings and recommendations is especially important after Edward Snowden’s revelations, and should be taken seriously by people who value their privacy and don’t want any third party – government or not – snooping around their communications.

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