The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Tuesday released a report on messaging apps security, saying that Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime SMS/instant message and video chat services, respectively, are the most secure mass-market options for consumers, though that doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
The organization looked at three dozens of messaging technologies, examining their security, and whether it can offer protection against data collection and mass surveillance.
“The revelations from Edward Snowden confirm that governments are spying on our digital lives, devouring all communications that aren’t protected by encryption,” EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley said. “Many new tools claim to protect you, but don’t include critical features like end-to-end encryption or secure deletion. This scorecard gives you the facts you need to choose the right technology to send your message.”
The EFF found six tools to score seven stars, including ChatSecure, CryptoCat, Signal/Redphone, Silent Phone, Silent Text, and TextSecure.
“Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime products stood out as the best of the mass-market options, although neither currently provides complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance,” the company said. “Many options—including Google, Facebook, and Apple’s email products, Yahoo’s web and mobile chat, Secret, and WhatsApp—lack the end-to-end encryption that is necessary to protect against disclosure by the service provider.”
A screenshot showing the factors that were taken into account to evaluate these messaging tools follow below, with more specific details about EFF’s study available at the source links.