Encrypt Correctly: Choosing a Messenger for Safe Private Chatting in the Office

Nowadays, with all the variety of instant messengers, you usually don’t have to choose them – people just use the same apps that their friends do. But what if secrecy really matters? In this article, we will go through the list of modern instant messengers and see what protection guarantees each of them has.

 

Criteria for Choosing Messengers

We have chosen only some of the criteria that can play an important role in choosing a messenger. Here are our top-5 criteria:

FOSS

Is the source code of the messenger distributed under the free license? How closely do developers interact with the community? All this is important to consider when choosing.

Availability of the anonymous registration 

There are such messengers that require the phone number only for spam protection purposes, therefore, one can simply use the services of renting numbers. In other cases, the messenger is tied to the personal number. This is bad because without two-factor authentication if someone gains access to this number, they can enter your account and steal all the data.

End-to-End encryption 

Some messengers have this feature by default, others can enable it, but there are those where end-to-end encryption is simply not available.

E2EE group chats

Group E2EE chats are usually not such a necessary feature, but they are quite convenient. When starting E2EE chats, some messengers even offer to check the prints of the interlocutors.

Protecting the social graph

Some instant messengers collect information about the user’s contacts and other data, for example, whom the user called, how long they talked, etc. For security purposes, this possibility should be excluded.

 

Our Recommendations

Keeping in mind all the above-mentioned, we can recommend the following messengers, which meet at least most of the five criteria:

Briar

Briar is not a very popular messenger, and probably not everyone knows about its existence. However, it is based on the technology of decentralized networks (mesh), it can work via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or via the Internet. One can use this messenger after the anonymous registration, keeping in mind that chats are protected by default, and they are not stored on Briar’s servers.

Softros

This LAN messenger is primarily intended for corporate needs. No server or Internet connection is required for Softros to work. Group conversations are secure while offering all the necessary features.

Wire

This app can be included on the list of anonymous messengers based on the Wire Swiss protocol. There is a possibility of anonymous registration, end-to-end encryption is supported by default with the ability to sync encrypted chats. Wire provides social graph protection, group chats are encrypted (up to 128 participants), and conference calls (up to 10 participants) are also secured.

Riot (Matrix)

This is another little-known messenger with support and synchronization of E2EE chats, including group ones. Registration is anonymous, without reference to a mobile phone number or mail. Voice communication and video calls are supported. Riot encryption can be turned on or off by the lock icon next to the message sending field.

Whatever option you will choose, share your impressions with us. Enjoy!

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