Florence is a dedicated wordsmith on a mission to make technology-related topics easy-to-understand.... | See full bio
-> Published on: 15-06-2023
Encrypted Messaging: Protect Your Messages From Hackers
Updated · Sep 09, 2023
April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio
In 2021, 60% of businesses worldwide used encryption in their company’s backup and archives. Encryption helps businesses protect sensitive information and messages. Despite that, only 35% of companies used encryption technologies in their emails.
An encrypted message uses an algorithm to convert messages into unreadable files. Anyone without the right software to decrypt the message cannot read it. Keeping messages safe and secure as you send them to others heavily relies on encryption.
In this article, learn what encrypted messaging is, how it works, its importance, and the best apps with encrypted messaging features.
🔑 Key Takeaways:
Encrypted Messaging and How It Works
Encrypting messages helps reduce the risk of an attacker opening sensitive data.
Encryption technology encodes information that only the intended receiver can access. This end-to-end encryption prevents anyone from monitoring or accessing messages, phone calls, or files sent online.
A cipher algorithm performs coding (encrypt) and decoding (decrypt), a procedure that converts plain text to characters or symbols - the only way to decrypt is by using a particular key.
This said key encrypts or decrypts information. A public key can be widely used and distributed by others and is used only to encrypt sensitive data, while a private key is kept secret and only known to the owner and can be used for encryption and decryption.
The Public Key (Asymmetric) and Private Key (Symmetric) methods are two modern encryption methods that allow users to encrypt the data to hide it from outsiders and decrypt it for viewing by an authorized party, but they differ in the encryption process.
Public Key Encryption
This method uses a private key and the recipient's public key in its encryption and decryption process, where this private key matches the public. The recipient uses the matching private key to decrypt the message after it has been encrypted using the sender's public key.
A sender can "unlock" a mailbox to put a message into it, but they cannot see any other messages in the mailbox. Only the recipient's private key can decode the message in this encryption method.
Private Key Encryption
The Private Key (Symmetric) Encryption is similar to the Public Key method because two keys are required to encode and decode the information. However, in Private Key Encryption, both keys are the same. The parties can encrypt or decrypt the information, efficiently protecting the messages and other information hidden from those not allowed access.
Both methods effectively keep messages and other information out of the hands of unauthorized people.
Best Apps With Encrypted Messaging
Encrypted messaging apps help users communicate with privacy and security. It makes messaging secure through end-to-end encryption and makes it hard for unauthorized individuals to read it. Only the sender and the receiver can access the messages.
If you want secure communication, here are the 9 best apps for encrypted messaging.
Take a closer look at each app and what it offers.
Telegram offers free end-to-end encryption and is considered one of the most secure messaging platforms, with over 700 million monthly active users.
The app offers a "Secret Chats" option that allows users to delete both sides of the conversation. It also has a self-destruction feature that deletes messages or files after the receiver opens or reads the chat after a certain amount of time.
This app is a free and open-source encrypted messaging platform available for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux devices that allows users to send messages one-on-one or in groups.
The application employs a screen scraping blocker and an app password. Users can control the type of data sent and received through WiFi or cellular connections.
WhatsApp is a free app available on most devices, while its browser and desktop versions require a mobile app device to sync.
Aside from messaging and calling, its users can also send images, documents, and their current location. Users do not need to worry about sending files and images. WhatsApp security method utilizes an end-to-end encryption process across all platforms.
It also allows users to verify each other's keys. You can scan each other’s QR code if you and your contact are nearby. If not, you can message each other the 60-digit code to compare if it matches the one under encryption visually. A notification is sent to your account if any changes to your contact’s key.
💡Did You Know?
WhatsApp users sent a total of 41,666,667 million messages daily.
Kakaotalk is a free South Korean app with an end-to-end encrypted chat option. It also has a Secret Chat option, offering greater privacy in one-on-one and group chat rooms.
All messages are encrypted using a key only known to the chat's participants to prevent unauthorized parties from viewing private messages without having access to the device itself.
Mimecast Secure Messaging
Without the administrative hassle and IT overhead of conventional methods, Mimecast Secure Messaging offers an encrypted messaging solution that is easy to use for both the sender and the recipient.
🎉 Fun Fact:
European law firms with stricter privacy regulations consider Mimecast Secure Messaging secure, making it more attractive.
A user can send encrypted emails with Mimecast fast and effortlessly without needing encryption algorithms or keys. The sender or receiver does not require a certificate or encryption key management to install a specific software.
Users themselves or group chat administrators may implement controls based on their policies in revoking message access, imposing expiration dates on messages, requiring a read receipt, and preventing replies or taking a screenshot.
Viber’s encryption method ensures the security of the information sent, whether in one-on-one exchanges or group chats. Your data will continue to be encrypted from your end up to the recipient if you use the sharing method Viber recommends.
However, some of its chat features, like Channels and Communities, must be end-to-end encrypted for functionality reasons. These types of chats display the entire chat history to new group members. Bots and business messages might even share your information with a third party.
Wickr is an encrypted text messaging app that enables users to share content-expiring texts, images, and file attachments without concern about stolen or intercepted communications. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS.
The app has a message expiration time that makes it inaccessible after it expires. Each message has its encryption key, which only the people involved in the conversation know. After decrypting the message, the app removes the key and deletes it when it expires.
If you prefer open-source software and want to verify data by yourself, Wire is a great option. Because usernames are used instead of phone numbers, people can be more anonymous. Be mindful that it does save a plaintext record of every person you've ever contacted, but the username feature makes this slightly less concerning.
Google's Messages app has end-to-end encryption, where data is converted into scrambled text when it travels between devices. The secret key generated by the user’s phone can only decode the message. A new one is created for every message sent and is deleted once it serves its purpose. However, this only applies to one-on-one chats, enabling this option for both users. This option is yet to be available in group chats.
🔒 Security Note:
Do you also use Google for things other than messaging? Note that even though Google Message claims your messages are safe and secure. But have you ever wondered how much Google knows about you?
Here’s our article on how much data Google gets from us and how we can opt to be invisible.
The Importance of Using End-to-End Encryption in Messaging
Encryption protects sensitive data transmitted over the internet or stored in computer systems. This is necessary because everything you put, share, and do online can be accessed by others. But with the right tools, you can ensure your identity security and information from being viewed and used in cyber attacks.
Encrypted messages and applications stop anyone, even the government, from accessing your communications and information without consent.
Privacy and security matter more than users think in this fast-paced digital world. As people rely heavily on technology and the internet, it also opens doors to data breaches.
Users must ensure their security and privacy when using messaging applications. The use of encrypted messaging apps helps users maintain their privacy.
Are encrypted messages safe?
There's no such thing as "perfectly safe," but it is safer than non-encrypted messages, especially when the user has awareness and vigilant email security practices.
Why do you need to use encrypted messaging services?
If you employ encryption practices in your communications, you protect your organization and private conversations from cybercriminals and malicious actors who will use sensitive information for nefarious purposes. Data breaches cost money and time and can be used by these attackers to tarnish reputations.
Should I use a VPN when doing encryption messaging?
Yes, a VPN adds another layer of encryption, making the bad actors' job more challenging.
Your email address will not be published.
Updated · Sep 11, 2023
Updated · Sep 05, 2023