As a follow up to our piece on making encrypted phone calls, we’re taking a look at how to send encrypted text messages. In this day and age, we tend to rely on SMS messages to communicate quickly and easily. So, it’s important to think about where all those texts are going and who might have access to them. Protect yourself from prying eyes!
Here are some of the top apps for sending encrypted texts:
TextSecure: This app, which is free from Open WhisperSystems, works a lot like WhatsApp in the sense that it sends messages over data or WiFi rather than through SMS. It’s open source and allows for group chats and media sharing.
CyanogenMod: This isn’t an app; it’s a modified version of the Android OS that automatically includes an encrypted messaging app. WhisperPush, CyanogenMod’s encrypted messaging feature, is compatible with TextSecure (see above) and is managed by a developer from the Open WhisperSystems team.
Telegram: This app has become super popular outside of the US, and it also works over data or WiFi rather than through the SMS feature. It’s free, includes a “self-destruct” feature, and is totally encrypted. It’s also available for desktop devices. [Android/iOS/Window compatible]
Wickr: Wickr features a “self-destruct” feature and also allows the sender to control how long the recipient can view content for (a la Snapchat). Messages do not pass through servers, and the IP is proxied to avoid to avoid revealing information about either the sender or the recipient.
BlackPhone: BlackPhone, the new phone from SGP Technologies, sports a whole bunch of privacy apps and privacy-centric native features, including encrypted messaging. Want one? Enter our contest here!
Overall, most of the apps that send encrypted “texts” are actually sending your messages through WiFi or data connections, which helps you avoid incurring texting charges or leaving a trail of metadata. Keep in mind that services like SnapChat, which promise to delete the content of your communications, may actually keep records or copies of that content on their servers [it’s been shown that SnapChat does keep your content!].
So, if you’re really into sending encrypted messages, make sure that you download the app that works best for you AND get your friends to use it as well because, as we said before, if only one of you uses the app, the communication won’t be encrypted.