Get the pros and cons of the 11 most secure chat apps including Arena, iMessage, Facebook Messenger Signal and more!
May 24, 2022
Finding a reliable, secure messaging app has never been more critical. Malicious actors regularly attack Internet services to obtain confidential information. Security features like self-destructing messages and various encryption methods have become more popular.
Most messaging applications are focused on the one-to-one communication. That’s worthwhile, but that is not right for every situation. When you need to run a live chat to go along with your event, a fully private chat may not make sense because you want people to join your event.
The Arena approach to online security includes private messages between users. Additional security measures protect those direct messages – only the chat participants can view the messages. In addition, private messages act like self-destructing messages. Once both users close the chat window, the messages are gone.
At this time, Arena does not support voice calls or video chats. If you need those specific features, you may need to use a different secure chat app.
In the secure chat app category, Signal is often considered one of the best products on the market. For an extra layer of security, Signal minimizes the amount of data it collects from its users. This means there is less information for malicious users or government organizations to seize. It is thought that some other companies may have taken inspiration from the Signal messaging platform source code to improve their products.
There are some downsides to the product. Since the product is entirely free, the sustainability of the Signal business model is unclear. In addition, Signal makes it easy to send messages to people in your phone contact list. However, the full benefits of the Signal protocol are only available if both users use Signal.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat apps, with approximately two billion users. In addition to text, the app supports video calling and audio calling. In addition, the app offers end-to-end encryption features, a key feature for privacy advocates. Also, WhatsApp supports group messaging.
There are some drawbacks to WhatsApp, including the fact it has been blocked in some countries like China, North Korea, and Syria. In addition, the app does not support self-destructing messages. Finally, the app requires a user to know another user’s phone number. As a result, it is more challenging to use WhatsApp for online events. Since WhatsApp is owned by a social media giant with a mixed online privacy record, it might not be the best choice for confidential chats.
Telegram is an open-source, free-to-use mobile app with hundreds of millions of users. The app has received positive reviews as a secure chat app. In addition, Telegram supports group chats. The messaging app also lets you share your live location, making it easier to meet up with friends in person.
That said, Telegram has some limitations. The chat app lacks end-to-end encryption in all of its messaging from a security standpoint. Unlike Signal, Telegram collects contact information from users. The long-term sustainability of the secure chat app is also unclear because the company is still developing its monetization strategy.
Voxer is a chat app that became popular for sending voice messages. In addition to recorded audio messages, Voxer also supports group chat functionality. The Voxer app includes support for end-to-end encryption. Unlike most secure apps covered here, Voxer also provides additional functionality for paid accounts. The Pro account supports Dropbox, while the business plan adds administrative support.
There are some downsides to the app. Some user reviews have encountered privacy problems and the significant amount of notifications generated by the app. The app also appears to request access to all contacts on a user’s device.
Owned by Meta, Facebook Messenger supports text chat, calls, and file sharing. In addition, the secure chat app offers support for group chats which has become a popular feature over the past few years. By default, all Facebook users have access to Facebook Messenger, making it one of the most popular chat apps globally.
There are significant downsides to using Facebook Messenger. The app asks for access to personal information, and it is supported by advertising. For privacy-conscious users, Facebook Messenger is not the best choice. Business users, in particular, should look for other options that emphasize security and privacy to a more significant extent.
Like Signal, Pryvate Now is a secure messaging chat that focuses on encryption. The app’s encryption features combine high-end protection – AES 256-bit encryption and RSA 4096-bit protection. Also, the app can protect the user’s IP address through masking. Like WhatsApp, Pryvate Now also offers voice calls and video calls.
Compared to some of its more popular secure chat apps, Pryvate Now has a less polished user interface. Pryvate calling is limited to other Pryvate users. In addition, the support options available to Pryvate users are relatively limited, even for the business plan. Pryvate is a good choice for individuals and companies that want to maximize privacy over everything else.
Apple’s iMessage service is sometimes viewed as Apple’s answer to SMS messages. In comparison to text messaging, iMessage has several notable advantages. Apple Messages gives the user significant control over settings, including read receipts and message retention. Carefully configuring these settings can help to reduce your security risk. Further, it is easy to backup iMessage messages to iCloud. That’s a significant feature if you rely on iMessage to conduct business interactions.
There is an important security limitation to keep with Apple’s encryption. iMessage supports end-to-end encryption when messages are sent between iMessage users. However, if an iMessage user sends a message to a non-iMessage user like a person with an Android phone, the message is not encrypted.
Curious to see how Apple handles requests from law enforcement? The Apple US law enforcement guidelines have some answers.
According to this document, “iMessage communications are end-to-end encrypted, and Apple has no way to decrypt iMessage data when it is in transit between devices. Apple cannot intercept iMessage communications, and Apple does not have iMessage communication logs.” It is unclear if intelligence agencies have found encryption weaknesses or other methods to access the messages.
Threema is part of a newer generation of secure chat apps. This app offers end-to-end encryption to users. The app’s focus on privacy includes minimizing the amount of user data it collects. As a Facebook app, WhatsApp collects a significant amount of user data. Threema, on the other hand, does not even collect the user’s phone number. The app also has a reasonably robust web interface which makes it a good alternative to the mobile-only secure chat apps.
Threema is also notable for offering its chat app in several editions. Companies can use ThreemaWork to use messaging for corporate information. The chat app also supports chatbots which have marketing and customer service applications. These specialized versions are possible because the app charges user fees.
As of mid-2022, Threema has a relatively small user base compared to other services like Facebook and iMessage. Therefore, you can’t assume that your friends, colleagues, and family have the app.
Line has an unusual origin story. It was created in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami that caused havoc in Japan. The free chat app has since been developed to focus on digital health care services. The LINE Doctor offering gives users a way to message their doctor through a video call securely. Line also offers text messaging, voice calls, and video calls.
There are some downsides to relying on Line. In contrast to most of the other secure chat apps, Line offers a variety of non-chat services such as shopping, job postings, and payments. From one point of view, Line’s diversity of services makes it more appealing to users. The downside is that the company may not be as focused on developing its chat functionality as other chat-focused platforms.
With end-to-end encryption enabled by default, Switzerland-based Wire is a secure chat app supporting several communication kinds. The app supports written messages, images, and file transfers. Wire’s security technology is based on Signal’s messaging protocol. The app registers users by email address instead of phone number, which has some privacy advantages.
There are some weaknesses in using Wire as your primary messaging service. Archiving chat content from Wire is relatively tricky. The service also has limitations on the number of users who can participate in a meeting. Wire may not be the right service if you are interested in running a chat experience for a significant online event.
Are you wondering whether to use a popular messaging app or a private messaging app? With privacy in mind, use this guide to essential features to find the right app for you.
Whether you call it secure encryption, an encryption feature, encryption Protection, or IT security safeguards are critically important to keep messages safe. Specifically, check if the app uses both encryption in transit and encryption at rest. In addition, look for user-facing features like two-factor authentication to protect your data.
Tip: Business users should check if the app has received positive reviews from cybersecurity experts before using the app.
To maximize security protection, your preferred messaging app should minimize the information gathered from users. Some apps that use a mobile platform collect a user’s phone number and other data from mobile devices.
Some secure chat apps work in popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. Other apps are designed to work with mobile devices only. If multi-platform support is important for your needs, ask questions before using the app!
To maximize usage for events, it is best to use a chat app that works with popular browsers like Arena Live Chat.
Some chat apps emphasize that they are free to users for marketing purposes. It is wise to ask questions about these apps. If they are genuinely free to users, then the app maker will have to generate revenue in other ways, such as using advertising. Unfortunately, relying on online advertising to generate revenue for a secure chat app may negatively affect privacy.
This feature is most important for business users and publishers. If you want to use large numbers of people in a chat room to engage your audience, most of the chat apps covered above will not be a good fit. The reason is simple: most secure chat apps are focused on direct messages, messages to distribution lists, and other forms of closed communication.
Arena Live Chat is designed to bring large groups of people together to share their passion for the news, community, and other events.
Starting your first live chat session for your audience is straightforward. You can then add Arena to your website quickly (it usually takes minutes) and launch your first live chat session. Check out how easy it is in the video tutorial below.