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article imageSending that message — how ‘secure’ is secure?

By Tim Sandle     Feb 19, 2021 in Technology
Messenger apps confer a host of advantages for users and the provision of such apps is of interest to many businesses. It remains that some apps are more secure than others, as a new report finds.
A new survey from Deep Knowledge Analytics (titled "Messaging Apps & Platforms:Comparative Analysis") looks at the relative security features of popular messaging apps, looking for different patterns and variations. These are important concerns given that messaging apps now have 20 percent more active users than social media networks.
The survey finds there are no 100 percent secure messaging apps. Nonetheless, some options are apparently better than others, as the review of security features finds.
With security, Tox, the app aimed at users with high-security needs, especially those worried about spying and censorship. All data that passes through Tox is encrypted at both ends with open-source libraries.
Signal is designed with security and data protection in mind. However, it is subject to the U.S. CLOUD Act, which requires users to disclose personally identifiable information.
Telegram has 200 million active users and aims to have over one billion by 2022. Yet Telegram is a cloud solution and it cannot be considered “completely secure”: Not only are messages not end-to-end encrypted by default, but they are also permanently stored on a server, where the service provider (or hackers) could read them at any time. Messenger enables opt-in end-to-end encryption for specific person-to-person Messenger chats (only secret conversations), not for groups and not by default.
Viber protects users’ data from hacking by default. However, users should take extra security measures with self-customization.
WhatsApp has the most users out of all the platforms on this list with two billion active users in over 180 countries. WhatsApp does apply end-to-end encryption. More concerningly, user data can be used for marketing purposes according to the privacy policy. As it stands the Facebook service is not GDPR-compliant and requires both personal data and address-book access.
Wire has recently addressed several security issues. However, the app still has not gained the confidence of users.
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