Ever since the case of leaked drug chats of the popular Bollywood actress surfaced one prominent question that started being discussed is if WhatsApp is safe? And if not, then what are the top WhatsApp alternatives? Let’s have a look at 5 top secure messaging apps and see where it stands in front of WhatsApp in terms of security.
What’s Wrong With WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. It has constantly increased its customer base and is continuing to do so as well. However, in terms of security, the Facebook-owned social messaging app hasn’t improved much over time.
Since 2016, WhatsApp has provided end-to-end encryption to its users. It means that any conversations taking place between two users remain encrypted between the two and even WhatsApp can not access it.
But WhatsApp has been long accused of storing various user data on the device as well its private servers. Several data points such as the location of the users, frequency of conversations, and a lot more are reported to be captured by the company. Moreover, after the acquisition of the app by Facebook, several reports are hinting the app to bring adds on the platform to keep it free of cost. This will mean the user data will be sold by the social networking giants as on Facebook.
As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings. Legal Disclaimer of WhatsApp
If Not WhatsApp What Are Its Alternatives?
When it comes to social messaging apps, there are several options available on the Play Store, App Store, and both. But not many are actually much safer and reliable as WhatsApp.
The following are the most secure WhatsApp alternatives:
Not many may have heard about this app before. But this is regarded as amongst the most secure social messaging around. The app is free and is also cross-platform along with a desktop version as well. The app also offers voice and video calling.
What makes the app secure is the fact that it makes use of Industry-Leading Encryption techniques. Apart from that, the app’s encryption engine is open source allowing anyone to come and inspect the platform and find flaws for the app to update and make the app more difficult to hack.
The app also allows users to send disappearing messages as well. This means as the receiver reads the message it will self-destruct in some seconds. For additional security, the app also doesn’t allow the users to take external backups. There is, however, an export functionality available for Android users. But it takes a lot of time and not very convenient as usual WhatsApp backups.
This app is arguably one of the most secure messaging apps around right now. But the app doesn’t have a desktop version. Moreover, the app isn’t free as well, as the users have to pay for even the most basic version of the app.
What makes the app so secure is the fact that Threema doesn’t store any details of the conversations on its servers. As soon as the conversation is passed from the sender to the receiver, the data is automatically deleted from the servers. The app also makes use of its own end-to-end encryption for enhanced security. Even when a user syncs the contact list of the device to the app all the contact details are saved on the server anonymously. It does not save any metadata (details of who is communicating to whom) unlike WhatsApp making it so secure.
Other features available on the app include a voting feature on the platform. Using these feature users can ask other people in the group certain questions with options. The app also allows private chats on the platform which can be further secured by a PIN lock feature. In terms of payment options, the app also includes Bitcoins apart from PayPal to further maintain the anonymity of the users.
The app founded back in 2014 is also an ideal alternative for WhatsApp. The major advantage of the app over many others from this list it the clean app design and a fresh-looking interface provided here. The app is cross-platform and available for free.
This app makes use of end-to-end encryption from Open Whisper Systems. Although unlike many others this app does store metadata it can be turned off. It also does do that anonymously. The app allows video calls through its platform as well. Moreover, this is amongst the only apps that offer end-to-end encryption even in video calls hence making the calls ‘Tap Proof‘. The app 100% open-source allowing individuals to find flaws in the platform and helping in improving the overall security of the app.
Users can also send self-destructing messages through the app as well. Users can add up to 10 people in one video call. The Swiss app is free for persona use but there is also a paid version for organizations as well with no ads.
Silence is an app that is actually a spin-off from Signal (mentioned earlier). This app was previously also known as SMS Secure. This app rather than a messenger is a traditional SMS/ MMS app. It allows the users to send content even without being connected to the internet.
The app makes use of the same encryption method as Signal. Even this app makes use of open source security for any individual to find faults and shortcomings in the app and report it making the app more secure and reliable to attacks. Since the app is used to send SMS and MMS using the network provider, the details like the phone numbers of the receiver are known to the service provider. But the app encrypts the conversation making the data transferred hidden.
Using the app since the user can send only SMS and MMS as it doesn’t make use of the internet. The app has limitations such as limited support for group chats and even the absence of video calling. There are other features such as the receiver cannot screenshot chats and for enhanced safety, users can set a ‘unique passphrase‘ or a password which has to be provided to open the app.
Arguably amongst the top WhatsApp alternatives which are more secure than the Facebook-owned messaging app, Telegram is created by two Russian brothers. This is a cross-platform messaging app having a cloud-based service. Using the app is very similar to WhatsApp making the transition much easier.
Telegram has two types of encryption– Server-Client Encryption and End-to-End Encryption. The server-client encryption is the default encryption that encrypts data transfer from the sender to the server and from server to recipient. This leaves a risk of data being shared by Telegram elsewhere. The end-to-end encryption provided is regarded as much secure than that of WhatsApp. There are some interesting features such as secret chats making the texts disappear after some time. Also, when a person sends a message and the receiver forwards it further, deleting the message by the initial sender also deletes the message for all recipients.
Telegram is often appreciated by the users for providing several additional benefits than WhatsApp. Using Telegram, users can also send files and media of any size against the limit imposed in WhatsApp.
These are regarded as the top WhatsApp alternatives based on the security parameters offered by the messaging apps. You aren’t 100% safe on any app. Despite any high claims from the apps, being completely secure in today’s digital era is nearly impossible. But trying to be as safe as possible is also equally important and after the recent viral leak of WhatsApp chats of popular Bollywood actors, considering these safer alternatives may be the need of the hour.
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