Adam Adler: How do you communicate secretly?
Adam Adler ( Miami, Florida): How do you communicate secretly? What are the Top Secret Messaging Apps For Secure Chatting? What are the Best Ways To Communicate Anonymously and Privately? Top Secret Messaging Apps For iPhone & Android? What are the Good alternatives to Telegram, Viber, Signal, Secret Messenger chats, Snapchat, Wire, KakaoTalk, Threema, Wickr Me, or Dust? Super Secret Chat Messengers That Don't Let Anyone Snoop In On Your Private Conversations?
How Much Can You Trust Your Messaging Service?
End-to-end encryption can defend you against surveillance by governments, hackers, and the messaging service itself. But all of those groups might be able to make secret changes in the software you use so that even if it claims to use end-to-end encryption, it is really sending your data unencrypted or with weakened encryption.
Many groups, including EFF, spend time watching well-known providers (like WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, or Signal) make sure they really are providing the end-to-end encryption they promise. But if you are concerned about these risks, you can use tools that use publicly known and reviewed encryption techniques and are designed to be independent of the transport systems they use. OTR and PGP are two examples. These systems rely on user expertise to operate, are often less user-friendly, and are older protocols that don’t use all of the modern best encryption techniques.
What End-To-End Encryption Does Not Do
End-to-end encryption only protects the content of your communication, not the fact that you are communicating in the first place. It does not protect your metadata, which includes, for example, the subject line of an email, who you are communicating with, and when. If you are making a call from a cell phone, information about your location is also metadata.
End-to-end encryption is only one of many features that may be important to you insecure communication. As described above, end-to-end encryption is great for preventing companies and governments from accessing your messages. But for many people, companies and governments are not the biggest threat, and therefore end-to-end encryption might not be the biggest priority.
For example, if someone is worried about a spouse, parent, or employer with physical access to their device, the ability to send ephemeral, “disappearing” messages might be their deciding factor in choosing a messenger. Someone else might be worried about giving their phone number out, and so the ability to use a non-phone-number “alias” might be important.
More generally, security and privacy features are not the only variables that matter in choosing a secure communications method. An app with great security features is worthless if none of your friends and contacts use it, and the most popular and widely used apps can vary significantly by country and community. Poor quality of service or having to pay for an app can also make a messenger unsuitable for some people.
The more clearly you understand what you want and need out of a secure communication method, the easier it will be to navigate the wealth of extensive, conflicting, and sometimes outdated information available.
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