Which secure messaging app is the best?
Most of us use messaging apps every day, whether for business or to communicate with friends, family members, and acquaintances. But popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Skype, to name a few, aren’t as secure and private as one would like.
Fortunately, there are a number of secure alternatives. Signal and Wire are certainly among them, but how do they compare? Let’s find out.
Signal: is it secure?
Signal is a free, open-source application that was developed by the non-profit Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It hit the market in 2014 and its user base has grown tremendously since then.
Signal now has tens of millions of users, many of whom are journalists, whistleblowers and political activists, in short, people whose personal safety depends on as much security and anonymity as possible.
Signal uses strong end-to-end encryption, which means that the messages you send and receive are not accessible to anyone, not even Signal itself.
The messages are encrypted with the Signal protocol, which several cybersecurity researchers have found to be very powerful. In 2016, researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK, Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and McMaster University in Canada actually audited the protocol, finding that it presented “no major flaw,” according to the International Association for Cryptological Research.
Signal doesn’t collect any user data, so it doesn’t even know about your device and location. The app also has no access to your contacts and messages. However, you need to enter a phone number to register, which isn’t ideal.
The signal is completely free. There are no paywalls, premium versions or additional features to unlock. The app itself is very easy to use and works pretty much like any mainstream messaging app, allowing users to swap photos and videos, make calls, send messages that disappear, etc.
Wire: secure messaging with a twist
Wire was launched in 2014, but first gained attention in 2016 when it added end-to-end encryption and released its source code. And in 2018, Wire launched its own collaboration solution.
For encryption, Wire uses the Proteus protocol. Just like Signal, the app encrypts all communications. It stores all messages locally; in encrypted form, on users’ devices.
Unlike Signal, Wire doesn’t require a phone number to sign up, so all you need to sign up is an email address. It’s definitely safer and more convenient, especially if you use a secure email service.
On the surface, Wire is an ordinary messaging app with pretty solid security. What sets it apart from the competition is that it is also a collaboration platform. In fact, Wire is aimed at businesses, as opposed to individuals, and that’s exactly where the app excels.
With businesses around the world pulling away due to the coronavirus pandemic, a secure messaging platform like Wire is almost guaranteed to grow and attract new users.
However, Wire is not entirely free: the basic version of the application is, but Wire for Enterprise and Wire for Government are not.
Wire vs Signal: Which is Right for You?
Signal and Wire are much better, more secure, and more private than the vast majority of messaging apps. Both have some flaws, but no major security issues.
Signal is great for everyday use, and as an individual, you probably won’t find a safer app. Businesses, on the other hand, should strongly consider Wire, as it’s much more secure than Skype, Slack, and similar platforms.
And if you’re still on the verge of ditching your favorite messaging app for a more secure alternative like Signal or Wire, understanding what popular apps know about you might push you over the edge.