This App Will Keep Your Text Messages Top Secret
Remember when Edward Snowden leaked a ton of confidential, official documents that showed that the NSA had probably been tracking ordinary Americans' instant messages, phone calls, text messages, and more? Well, it got most of us up in arms about our privacy and rights — and as a result, an app called Threema, which secures your text messages and ensures that only the reader can see them, gained popularity and appeal. Most people aren't wild about the idea of others being able to read their unencrypted texts; Threema, however, grants a little more piece of mind.
For two dollars, Threema for can encrypt all your communication (including group messages) using something called end-to-end encryption — which means only the parties on the sending and receiving ends of the messages can actually see the texts. The information contained in each message is thus rendered safe from third parties — even the company providing the encryption services — thanks to something called public-key encryption. Since neither a phone number nor an e-mail address is required to sign up for the app, you can actually use the app completely anonymously using only a randomly-generated eight digit number. It's kind of like the Swiss bank of text messages.
A number of popular instant messaging systems don't offer any sort of encryption — but luckily, there are more than a few alternatives that do. In addition to Threema, these three encrypted instant messaging and texting services might help you keep your personal life... well, personal.
In 2014, What'sApp implemented end-to-end encryption, making the messages sent between users ultra private. The difference between What'sApp and Threema is that What'sApp stores information in their own servers, while Threema stores information in decentralized servers, adding an extra layer of protection.
Wickr employs something called Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), meaning each message sent has a new encryption key which is automatically deleted when the message is decrypted (that is, when it's been read by the intended recipient). Wickr also strips all metadata, including location, time, identification, and edits to messages and media.
Telegram allows encrypted messages to self-destruct. Plus, the company is so sure that messages can't be hacked that Pavel Durov, one of the app's backers, promised 3$300,000 to anyone who can crack the encryption. Anyone want to give it a shot?