How safe are end-to-end encrypted messaging Apps?

encrypted messaging Apps

People have now become conscious of their digital privacy and security. To meet the rising demand of the users to ensure online security, many messaging apps have started incorporating end-to-end encryption. A wide number of messaging apps like Singal, WhatsApp and Telegram offer end-to-end encryption for the users. Even though end-to-end encryption provides a certain layer of protection, one might wonder how secure is end-to-end encryption really? Before understanding how safe it is, it becomes vital to understand the working of end-to-end encryption first.

What Is End-To-End Encryption?

In the digital world, many of us send and receive a lot of information through the internet with the help of devices. Some of the information can be confidential like passwords, portfolio of designs like Mehndi Design, documents and financial information. When such information is tampered with, it can cause a problem and can lead to serious disruption of privacy. To protect such vital information, encryption comes into place. Encryption converts the data which is being sent into an indecipherable format. This format ensures that no third party is able to access the information or read it. The data passed on can only be deciphered by the receiver. Encryption does not mean that a Sad Status that you have posted is converted into Happy Status. A message like “This is an encrypted message” might look like “gjadbr+jsdn5dfkg/c76hg”. As you can see, this encrypted message cannot be figured out.

How Does End-To-End Encryption Work?

End-to-end encrypted message ensures that the message can only be read by the sender and the receiver. No one, including the messaging system that you are using for transferring end-to-end encrypted messages, can read the message. The message is encrypted right in the device of the sender and it is only decrypted in the receiver’s device. In short, encrypted messages can only be encrypted or decrypted at the endpoints.

How Safe Is End-To-End Encrypted Security?

End-to-end encrypted messages provide an additional layer of security to the users from the hackers and other parties that can spy. When encryption and decryption that occurs at the endpoint without a doubt provides protection to the private information. Encrypted messages are much more advantageous than clear text which are not encrypted at all. End-to-end encryption is much better than encryption-in-transit which provides the key to the encryption to the server and this is a loophole that can be easily exploited by malicious actors. Therefore, it is important to support end-to-end encryption which intercepts the message between the source and the destination.

Even though end-to-end encrypted messages are secure, it has few problems. For instance, end-to-end encryption hides the content of the message but the metadata of the message is still visible. It means that even if a message is end-to-end encrypted, one can see who you have sent the message to and when. Further, the messaging app that supports end-to-end encryption does not provide the same level of security to the backup. For instance, WhatsApp, which provides end-to-end encryption, does not by default provide the security to the backup of the WhatsApp chat which takes place mostly on Google Drive for the Android phone and iCloud for the iPhones. When the backups are not encrypted, it becomes vulnerable to being accessed by others.

Which Apps Support End-To-End Encryption?

Many messaging apps support end-to-end encryption. A few of the messaging apps that support this layer of protection include Signal Private Messenger, Wire, Threema, Telegram, WhatsApp, Wickr Me, Viber, Silence, iMessage and Silence.

While choosing a messaging app, ensure that it supports end-to-end encryption, multi-mode communication like voice, text and video messages and synchronization across different platforms and devices like mobile, desktop and web. Additional features that are good to have included an open-source messaging system and destructing messages. It needs to be checked by the user whether the backup is encrypted or not. If the backups are not encrypted, you need to take the security and protection of the messages on your hand. WhatsApp currently supports even end-to-end encrypted backup but the setting for the same needs to be permitted by the users manually. If you are using another messaging app, check whether the chat backup can be encrypted right from the messaging app or not. If not, find ways to protect the backup of the chat.

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