The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has made encryption a necessity for many people. However, the app store offerings are inconsistent in terms of quality or features.
Whether you require a secure messaging app for the dark web or personal use or want to keep your conversations private, some tremendous encrypted apps are out there.
Here is a list of some of the best-encrypted apps you should try in 2022.
Signal Messaging App
Signal is a messaging app designed for privacy and security. It has end-to-end encryption and a self-destructing message feature to ensure your communication is private.
Do you ever feel like you missed a message or can’t seem to get a hold of someone? Signal is an app that lets you send and receive messages without relying on cellular service as long as you have internet.
You can easily communicate with a large group of people (up to 1000) without paying for a separate messenger service.
You can make phone and video calls to up to 40 people at once without having to worry about bandwidth restrictions.
Your messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning that your messages are secure and cannot be read by anyone except the people you intend to communicate with.
The encryption protocol of Signal is notably reliable and powerful and is also employed by other instant messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp. Signal is run by a non-profit organisation that ensures it does not monetise its users’ data.
In addition to self-destructing messages, Signal also has features such as password-protected conversations to enhance the privacy setting of your private conversations.
Signal is unique in that it provides both a mobile and desktop app. This allows users to stay connected wherever they are without having to switch between apps.
The encryption model of Signal relies on “Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) is a security feature of some encryption algorithms that relies on the concept of a secret key that can only be used once. This means that even if attackers know the secret key, they cannot decrypt any past or future encrypted messages using that key. Signal uses PFS in its default configuration.
In addition, Signal uses the combination of Curve25519, HMAC-SHA256, and AES-256 encryption protocols as its low-level cryptographic algorithms. This makes Signal’s encryption much more resistant to attack than systems with weaker symmetric encryption schemes, like those used in typical email and chat applications.
Signal does have some downsides, such as not allowing the user to sign up anonymously and requiring a user to enter a phone number to sign up.
Wickr’s reputation for privacy-first messaging has attracted the attention of thousands of people. Wickr is so secure that the US defence forces use it for secure conversations. Wickr messages are protected using 256-bit perfect forward secrecy, meaning each message is protected by a new encryption key.
The encrypted messaging tool has been recognised for its powerful user privacy features that prevent the leaking of metadata such as geotags.
It is challenging for hackers to decipher a user’s messages, even when servers get compromised. It is an extraordinary feat since all data is stored and backed up on AWS.
Wickr messages are automatically deleted after the client reads them or after a certain period has passed. Other notable security features include 2-FA security, device encryption at rest, and secure link previews.
Each of these solutions guarantees the reliability and confidentiality of your communications, which makes it perfect for use by government or business entities.
Wickr encryption and chat services give an unparalleled security experience. You can use the free version effectively, but for advanced functionality, you’ll need to use Wickr Premium.
For example, file sharing is restricted to only 10MB. Visual and audio calls are limited to 1:1 only, i.e., there are no group calls. The size of chat groups is also restricted to only 10 in the free version.
Privacy advocates are wary of Amazon’s recent purchase of Wickr. As of now, there’s no indication that Amazon intends to deviate from its focus on privacy and security.
Threema prioritises the protection of its users above all, requiring a premium subscription. It uses the world’s most robust encryption protocol, known as the network and cryptography library (NaCl), to encrypt messages. NaCl also provides security for voice messages, phone calls, and attachments.
Threema’s open-source code makes it particularly secure as a communication platform. However, It’s mainly geared towards business customers.
No personal information is demanded to create a Threema account. Instead, a unique ID is generated, which you can use to request communication with other people. Additionally, Threema deletes messages in its servers regularly to reduce security risks.
Threema users can create an account using an email or a phone number so that other account owners can quickly discover them. Users new to the platform are also provided QR codes that they can conveniently scan to connect with other account holders.
Threema users can utilise the polling feature to ask for feedback from their contacts and friends.
The app saves all its contact information on customers’ devices, meaning it knows nothing about its users.
Threema seeks to remain decentralised, so that end users cannot have any information about which groups they have joined on Threema. The chat app allows participants to configure private chat by setting a dedicated PIN.
Based on our evaluation, Threema is an excellent encrypted messaging app, yet it has a price of $3.99 for a single-user licence.
The fact that it’s not as popular compared to its competitors, especially amongst English-speaking users, is another disadvantage. If you want to use this app for dark web activities and want maximum privacy, then Threema is worth an investment.
Wire Messaging App
Wire claims to provide 100% end-to-end encryption for its messaging service, files and media files. Wire’s encryption scheme is open-source, and anyone can easily verify it. Wire’s headquarters are in Germany, a country known for its strong privacy protections.
Wires allow you to synchronise communication activities across several accounts and devices easily. This is one of the most popular features among communications devices for an individual trying to navigate a unique line between personal and shared communications.
As part of the platform’s commitment to providing a safe and secure communication environment, it uses a fork of the Proteus encryption protocol.
It has been designed to meet the needs of the commercial market, which could range from small businesses and complex industries to government entities. Hence, it has many group management packages, including video conferencing, security, calendar integration, invoicing, and billing. Wire can be easily used on cloud platforms and can be set up on private on-premises servers.
The free version of Wires can be used by up to 5 users and it features team management, messaging, and zero-trust cloud hosting. But for customer service and calendar integration, users need to buy the enterprise version.
Jabber Desktop App
The main benefit of Jabber OTR is their anonymous configuration elements, ensuring that users are not required to offer their telephone numbers during sign-up. The same refers to personal data that could damage the user’s privacy.
In contrast to other encrypted messaging services, Jabber OTR proved underpowered for mobile use. This disadvantage stems from the service’s dependence on a direct and unobstructed channel between the message sender and recipient.
The Jabber Messaging experience through the Jabber Web client is the preferred method to access the application.
Although it is a frequent finding amongst dark web users, it’s hard to ignore that its website lacks several valuable features and possibly has a frustrating interface, according to most users.
However, we suggest using this encrypted communication application for individuals searching for a robust protocol that could withstand even the harshest cyber attacks.
Telegram Messaging App
Telegram is the sought-after messaging app for large, active social groups. You can create groups with as many as 200,000 participants. Other convenient features include categorising your chats into folders and sharing files with no data restriction. The application is so quickly gaining popularity that governments and other entities have used it for security reasons.
Though Telegram offers various features, its security is a concern among many people. For example, Telegram uses MTProto encryption, which is less reliable than other robust protocols. In addition, users need to shift to the “Secret Chat” option to enable end-to-end encryption meaning the encryption is not enabled by the platform by default.
If your chat is not encrypted, it will be stored in Telegram servers as stored information. Telegram’s unavailability of end-to-end encryption is a big red flag that you should note.
Further evaluations of the Telegram app have identified specific tactics threat actors can use to know when a Telegram user is online or offline, also known as Telegram stalking. In addition to other factors, this tendency points to a growing cyber risk among dark web users whose privacy and security are the highest priority.
Despite these flaws, Telegram does have some useful security features, such as a self-destruct timer and two-step verification. In addition, Telegram deletes your account if it’s found to be inactive for more than 6 months.
Moreover, the source code is available on the internet, and there is a running bug bounty worth $300,000 for anyone who can decrypt Telegram messages.
Telegram’s overall utility is far superior to that of a typical messaging app. It is close to social media sites and is one of the best options for sharing large files and interacting with large groups.
If you have a Mac, iPad, or other Apple device, you probably know about Messages, the integrated messaging tool built into all Apple products. It can send encrypted messages, images, videos, and voice recordings that you can quickly deliver to Apple users.
Nevertheless, end-to-end Message encryption is only offered on Apple devices, and you have to set up the service using the Messages app settings. iMessage relies on the Apple Push Notification service to send encrypted messages between apple users.
Apple published this binary protocol to keep communication between Apple servers. The connection is encrypted with TLS.
The latest version of iMessage is also supported with disappearing messages. Furthermore, users can limit the times a receiver can see a message. In iOS 15, links received on iMessage are automatically displayed in Safari and other Apple applications, making it easy to keep track of information exchanged with contacts.
This service is limited to Apple products, but it is very robust. Apple takes a firm stance on privacy, thus making it nearly impossible for your data to be compromised. In layman’s terms, it’s entirely impossible for someone to view your messages unless there’s industrial-grade malware installed on your mobile.
Nonetheless, there’s a difficulty with iCloud backups, which are turned on by default. Whenever the device backs up your messages to iCloud, they’re first encrypted. However, an encryption key is sent to Apple at the same time.
To cut the risk of security problems, you can deactivate iCloud backups for messages and then create locally encrypted backups using Finder (Mac OS) or iTunes (Windows).
Dust Messaging App
Dust claims to be the world’s safest instant messaging app. It features a mixture of 128-bit and RSA encryption to secure all communications. In addition, messages are deleted 100 seconds after being read or 24 hours after delivery if left unopened and unread.
Messages on Dust are transmitted through RAM-based servers and, therefore, never kept on servers permanently.
A phone number is necessary while signing up for Dust. However, this information will not be visible to other users of Dust, making the app maintain complete anonymity virtually. You can also use Dust to send “Blasts” to families and friends.
These look like Tweets or private broadcasts, and screenshots of messages are also disabled by default.
Dust has some valuable features missing as a result of its security-focused environment. For example, you cannot make voice or video calls. Groups are limited to just 26 users, as opposed to Telegram’s 200,000.