Keeping track of all the components that secure a messaging app can be challenging. The most crucial query, above and beyond the technical jargon, is: What do you require from a messenger? Why do you even want your communications to be more secure in the first place? This post's objective is to get you thinking about the type of security you need, not to rank which messenger has the best "security" features based on some technical criteria. The post will go into great detail on the essential aspects that any secure messaging service must have.
1. End-To-End Encryption
End-to-end encryption is a prerequisite for a communications platform to be secure. It ensures that a private note gets secretly encoded by the original sender and only decoded by the intended recipient. That implies that no one, not even the messaging service provider, can "listen in" and spy on the messages in the process. Contrary to popular belief, the app developer does not necessarily have access to your communications just since you have them stored in the app on your phone. That is a fundamental quality of effective encryption: it cannot be cracked even by the individuals who created and used it.
End-to-end encryption should not be confused with transport-layer encryption (sometimes known as "network encryption"). While end-to-end encryption secures your communications from your gadget to your recipient's gadget, transport-layer encryption only secures them from your device to the app's servers and from the app's servers to your recipient's gadget. In the process, your messaging service firm has access to unencrypted duplicates of your messages and, in case of a legal request, has them ready to hand over to law authorities.
2. Disappearing Messages
If you're worried that somebody in your environment— a partner, tutor, parent, or boss—might try to steal your devices and check your messages directly off the screen, ephemeral or "disappearing" messages could be helpful to you. It implies that you can configure notifications to disappear after a given period, leaving less data on your gadget for others to see.
However, it's crucial to remember that simply because messages disappear from your device doesn't imply they do so everywhere. Before the text disappears, your recipient could potentially capture a screenshot of it. Additionally, if the app does not use end-to-end encryption, the app developer may potentially obtain a copy of your text. Last but not least, in addition to the messenger of your choice, you can further the physical security of your device by setting full-disk encryption.
3. Restricted Sharing, Remote Lock & Remote Wipe
Instant messengers almost universally employ server-side encryption. Since devices can be lost, stolen, or accessed by an unauthorized person, servers are often more secure than devices. Some platforms also forbid users from distributing or saving any content obtained through an app. That stops any private information from being public. To protect sensitive data, the most secure administrator-managed messaging platforms also include the ability to remotely block access to the platform and, if required, wipe all user data.
There are many essential security elements when deciding which messaging service to use when sending your private note. Just remember that a secure messaging app is the best course of action if you're concerned about your data falling into preying hands.