With the rise of social media and instant internet-based communication, nearly everyone now uses their mobile device to send daily messages to people all around the world. But as services such as Facebook Messenger have grown, many people don’t realize that the communications they send and their personal information like their name and location are actually unprotected. And this means that companies can buy and sell their data, and that hackers can easily obtain it.
Fortunately, as users have become more aware of privacy on the internet, several apps have been created that offer end-to-end encryption (E2EE). This high-tech security feature – once the sole domain of the tech savvy due to the complicated operations required to use it – is now accessible to everyone. But what exactly is E2EE? And what is the best app to use to obtain it?
In this article, we explain end-to-end encryption and reveal why CoverMe’s new app is the best on the market for encrypted messaging, beating out unsafe services like Whatsapp and Telegram.
What is End-to-End Encryption?
E2EE is a type of secure communication that prevents third parties, either big corporations or hackers, from accessing the data being sent out from your device to the recipient. Thanks to the secure encryption, only the recipient is able to decrypt the scrambled data thanks to a special key that they hold on their devices.
The end-to-end system is designed to prevent any attempts at reconnaissance. In fact, it’s now become so secure that US lawmakers are lobbying to have the system weakened. Thanks to the scrambling process, which operates much like military-grade encryption techniques, anyone who intercepts that data sees an unrecognizable jumble of figures that are impossible to unentangle.
This means that a conversation between you and the person on the other end is more private and secure compared with traditional messaging services such as Facebook Messenger or SMS. But although services like WhatsApp do offer E2EE, their infrastructure is still open to significant weaknesses – we’ll get to that shortly.
How Does End-to-End Encryption Work?
Let’s take a simple example. Say that John wants to message Susan in private using an encrypted messenger. Susan’s device has what’s called a public and a private key – both of which are encryption keys that are related to one another by a complex mathematical equation. Anyone can get access to the public key, but only Susan’s device has the private key.
If John wants to send Susan a message, he uses her public key to encrypt the communication. This turns his message into ciphertext, which looks like a series of scrambled, random characters.
As John sends his message, it goes out over the internet. As it travels over the internet, anyone can intercept it. But, of course, they would only see the scrambled data. Even though the message will pass through several different servers, including those of the email service or messaging service that he is using and then onto the internet service providers, no one can understand the information. Those companies might try, but without Susan’s private key, they cannot untangle the complex string of data.
When Susan’s device receives the scrambled data, it uses its key to unlock it. This turns the ciphertext back into regular plaintext, meaning that she can read it. When she wants to reply, her device repeats this process in reverse, using John’s public key to encrypt the data.
End-to-End Encryption Messaging vs SMS
Where E2EE is at the cutting edge of communication technology, SMS is from the Dark Ages. Most devices still accept SMS, but the security features are built on an archaic architecture housed by many cellular networks around the world.
As you send out an SMS message, it will (probably) be secure between your phone and your network. But once it gets to your network, it can easily be intercepted by third parties. Around the world in recent years, global telecommunications companies were subject to hacks and leaked data. What a lot of people fail to realize is that once their data leaves their device unencrypted, it can be accessed several layers upstream in the cellular communication chain without them ever being aware.
The only saving grace for SMS is that nearly every device accepts it, and it runs on the reliable 2G network. However, almost every device – even the cheapest mobile phones on the market – have the technological capability of handling E2EE encryption. And with end-to-end encryption, there are countless advantages:
• Your data is always safe from hacking. Few parties have access to your unencrypted data, and it never enters the public domain without an encryption. Even if your email or mobile networks’ servers are hacked, the hackers would only be able to see encrypted data.
• E2EE is highly private. When you use a service like Facebook Messenger or Gmail, the companies that own those platforms have the ability to read every single message that you send and receive. They can then use this to advertise to you or they can sell your data for a profit. With E2EE, you retain total control over who is able to read your messages – which is great news for democracy.
Comparison: Telegram, WhatsApp, CoverMe in Terms of Encryption
Some popular messaging apps like Telegram claim to take security seriously, but by default their messaging service is not end-to-end encrypted. In fact, you have to go into the settings and enable it manually, and even then you have to stick within the “Secret Chats” function.
A service like WhatsApp is an upgrade – it offers basic end-to-end encryption messaging by default everywhere and automatically. So, there’s no need to remember to turn on the encryption service manually. However, WhatsApp is notorious for holding other data about its users, such as the time stamps of the messages and the phone numbers associated with each message. Increasingly, they are also coming under pressure from lawmakers to reveal this data in criminal cases. So, why wouldn’t you choose a company that doesn’t keep that data in the first place?
By far the best app for secure messaging is CoverMe. CoverMe is an end-to-end encryption app that uses military-grade security features to automatically protect all your personal data by default. And, it keeps none of your personal information or any of the data your device emits. That means that only you and the person with which you are communicating can read what is sent. And that doesn’t just go for text messages. CoverMe encrypts everything including voice calls, group chats, videos, pictures, and files. It also offers a wealth of other bonus security features such as alternative phone numbers, self-destructing messages and message recall.