Secure alternatives to WhatsApp

Chat balloons
So, Facebook has its hands in WhatsApp now. For some of you, that is a privacy nightmare, and you are looking for an alternative. It didn’t help too that WhatsApp was down for a number of hours over the weekend. I gather that many WhatsApp users have taken up Telegram as an alternative. I am no security expert, so I do not know exactly where things stand with a lot of these apps. But I can at least present you with information from people who do.

Joshua Lund of MissingM has been referenced as someone who understands security issues. He has a detailed post where he reviews several chat apps based on security: Fighting DISHFIRE: The State of Mobile, Cross-Platform, Encrypted Messaging. If you do not understand techno-speak, thou shalt not click to the article, because your head will swim. The article also mentions a long list of chat apps that I had never heard of. What I have done for you is extract the information that you can understand and that you need here for you.

Telegram

Since that is what many people are switching to, I will take this first. Joshua says that Telegram isn’t as secure as many people think. His verdict: “I’m staying away for now.” But it looks exactly like WhatsApp, and many of you love it. If security/privacy isn’t your thing, go for it! Available for Android, Windows Phone, and iOS.

BBM

BlackBerry Messenger is popular here, and there seems to be a general impression that it is secure. Joshua bursts the bubble: ““Security” and “encryption” are not mentioned at all in the new BBM feature list, nor are they mentioned in the FAQ. In my opinion, BBM is on about the same level as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger in terms of security.” If you don’t care about security/privacy, please enjoy your BBM. Available on Android, iOS, and soon Windows Phone.

Also read:  BlackBerry Z10 Review - For N140,000?

SureSpot

Never heard of this before? Me too. But Joshua says this is what he recommends for now. It is far more secure than WhatsApp, BBM and Telegram. It is available for Android and iOS. No word on when or if it will ever hit Windows Phone.

Popular: Skype, LINE and WeChat

As popular as Skype, LINE and WeChat are, they do not even make Joshua’s security list, meaning that they are probably just as secure as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, which is saying nothing. So, feel free to use them if security/privacy are not your thing. All three of Skype, LINE and WeChat are available on Android, Windows Phone and iOS.

Interested in the detailed technical article? Read: Fighting DISHFIRE: The State of Mobile, Cross-Platform, Encrypted Messaging.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

6 thoughts on “Secure alternatives to WhatsApp

  • February 24, 2014 at 9:31 am
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    as always. the IM you use is a function of what others are using.. which can be a chicken and egg problem.

    it is not enough that an IM is not secure or more functional. it must also enjoy widespread adoption to make any splash in the Instant Messaging Ocean..

    and that’s why. secure or not secure. no IM is usurping the Whatsappian dominance any time soon…

    and am glad the platitude of the BB unbreakable security has been dispelled here..

  • February 24, 2014 at 9:57 am
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    Speaking of which, I wonder why a lot of people are now concerned about their security/privacy on WhatsApp. If they were, they shouldn’t have signed up for WhatsApp in the first place .

    From my findings, Telegram is more secure than WhatsApp or any of the other IMs listed above.

    If Joshua Lund says WhatsApp isn’t as secure as many people think. I’ll suggest he applies for the Telegram Crypto Contest and prove the IM wrong. The $200,000 reward for deciphering Telegram’s encrypted Secret Chat is still up for grabs.

  • February 24, 2014 at 7:44 pm
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    I’ve wondered the same thing too; why are people super concerned with security on IMs. Color me dense but if you have some high profile info, IM isn’t a route to disseminate it. So except you are like Spacyzuma beaming nudies across planets, why bother?

    My IM of choice includes BBM, Skype and Whatsapp in that order. Can’t be bothered about the others, just too numerous

  • February 25, 2014 at 1:59 am
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    there’s a new IM app out, Threema, it’s supposed to be very secure with end to end encryption and has 3 contact levels, based on public and private keys. it’s a premium offering though

    • February 25, 2014 at 8:36 am
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      I installed that about 5 days ago but none of my contacts is on it.

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