Fact: Youre Taking No
However, the idea of a VPN that never keeps logs is a bit problematic. As we discuss in our article about no-log VPNs, actually never keeping any logs is tricky as the internet doesnt work that way, there has to be some record somewhere of a connection. Instead, what most VPNs do is delete the logs as soon as theyre made, but we guess no-log VPN makes for better marketing copy than delete-log VPN.
Despite this technicality, theres also another issue: Theres no good way of checking if logs are truly not being kept, all the claims of independent security audits to the contrary. Proving a negative is hard enoughif not impossibleand its made even harder by the fact that the service in question could just move the log files during the audit.
In the end, youre really just taking VPNs at their word that they wont collect your data. The best thing you can do is make sure that they dont have a history of privacy breaches and also , or at least as much as you can.
|Everything You Need to Know About VPNs|
|Which Is the Best VPN?|
|Whats a VPN? | How to Choose a VPN | Using a VPN With Netflix | Best VPN Protocol | The 6 VPN Features That Matter Most | What Is a VPN Killswitch? | 5 Signs a VPN Isnt Trustworthy | Should You Use a VPN? | VPN Myths Debunked|
Wickrme The Best Enterprise Messaging App With Strong Encryption
|Functionality is limited relative to other apps|
|Offers a suite of security and privacy-related features||Recently purchased by Amazon|
Wickr has built a reputation as a privacy-first messaging app. Its so secure that American Forces use it to communicate securely with each other. Messages on Wickr are protected using 256-bit perfect-forward secrecy, which means that every message is secured with a new key.
This makes it very difficult for hackers to decipher user messages even if they manage to hack the servers, which would be a feat in itself since all data is backed on AWS.
Additionally, Wickr messages are auto-deleted after being read or once the user-determined period expires. Some other notable security features include multi-factor authentication, device encryption at rest, and secure link previews.
Each of these helps maintain the integrity and privacy of your communications, making it ideal for use for government agencies or enterprise applications.
Hence, Wickr is definitely an outstanding messaging from a security and encryption standpoint. However, the free version, which caters to individuals, lacks some important value-added features.
For instance, file sharing is limited to a mere 10Mb. Video and voice calls are 1:1 only i.e., there are no group calls. The size of chat groups is also limited to just 10.
Is The Mobile Connection More Secure Than Wi
Most people would say that a mobile connection is more secure than Wi-Fi. This is because your data is encrypted when it’s sent through a cellular network. However, there have been some reports of data breaches on cellular networks. So, it’s important to be aware of the risks before you decide whether to use a VPN on your mobile device.
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How To Encrypt Text Messages
Given that Signal is one of the most trusted encrypted SMS services even Edward Snowden uses it were going to use it for our example of how to set up an app for private messaging. However, you can use any app you trust, as most of them follow a similar five-step process.
Find the Signal app on the Google Play Store or iPhone App Store. Then simply tap install and wait.
Click allow to let Signal access your contacts. You can also hit deny, but then youll need to add contacts manually and wont be able to call people.
Enter your phone number. The app needs your phone number to register and verify your account. Youll get an SMS message with a code, which Signal will enter automatically if you give it access.
It will now ask you to enter profile details, such as your name, a picture and a secure pin code. These are all end-to-end encrypted and kept secure, but you can use a fake name and no picture for extra privacy.
To send an encrypted message, tap the pencil in the lower right-hand corner and choose a Signal user. Youll see Signal message where you type your message and a lock icon on the send button, which indicates that its encrypted.
Now that you know how to encrypt your text messages, lets take a look at the best encrypted messaging apps, so you can start sending encrypted messages to all your pals.
The Problems With Sms Summarized
Lets quickly summarize the problems with SMS, and compare it to a secure, end-to-end encrypted chat app like Signal.
- Your cellular carrier can see the contents of the messages youre sending and receiving. Any collected records could be subpoenaed in legal proceedings.
- SMS messages can be intercepted by hackers due to weaknesses in the rickety old protocol that powers them. This puts financial and other accounts at risk.
- Scammers can try to steal your cell phone number by tricking your cellular providers customer service staff.
With Signal, for example:
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How Does VPN Work
VPNs use a few methods to make this anonymous data security work:
Encryption scrambles your data in a format that only the destination will be able to read. Tunnelingprotocols are then used to create encryption tunnels within your Wi-Fi or cellular network. These provide protection by isolating and concealing your data from the rest of the users on the network. This is valuable when on any internet network, whether secured or unsecured.
Remote servers act as the destination for your encrypted data tunnel. Your data gets shipped out to VPN servers in other countries to help anonymize your identity. When the data exits and moves to its final target, all the location data is from the remote server and not your own. Essentially, these VPN servers are your protective middleman that disguises your data from interference.
Together, these main methods keep your private information from being sifted and snatched. The result is a level of cybersecurity and privacy that will give you more peace-of-mind.
Fact: Netflix And Other Streaming Services May Be A Step Ahead
This is blatantly untrue. Streaming services have a vested interest in making sure people dont jump borders with their VPNs. Most will have agreements set up with distributors to ensure certain content is restricted to specific regions, and as such have put up some pretty high-end VPN detection software.
If you want to use a VPN with Netflix, you still can, but you cant always count on it to work. Our favorite service for this is ExpressVPN, but even it has run into some trouble lately. As such, expect some frustration if streaming is your main reason for getting a VPN.
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What Is The Difference Between A Text Message And An Sms Message
A text message is a generic term for a short set of text characters, words, or several sentences sent between mobile phones or smartphone applications. An SMS message is a text message sent over the voice channel of the cellular network. SMS messages have a length limitation and are insecure.
Modern text messages sent via smartphone apps or over web-based messengers are more secure and do not typically have length limitations.
Wickr Me Ephemeral Anonymous Messaging App
Wickr is another great option for a secure messaging app. The Wickr product line contains free and paid versions targeting both individuals and teams/businesses. In our Wickr review, we concentrated on Wickr Me, the free, personal version of Wickr.
One drawback, however, is that Wickr was in 2021. Many saw this as a strategic business move to win military contracts. While the optimist would say that Wickr will now have major financial backing and longevity, the pessimist my view Amazon with scorn. You can decide for yourself.
On a positive note, the company has been hard at work expanding their product line since our first review. Now they offer Wickr Pro, a personal/small team solution with different paid tiers, Wickr Enterprise, designed to provide a fully scalable, secure, collaboration platform, and Wickr RAM, a version optimized for military use.
Wickr Me is built on the same code base as the companys paid commercial offerings, with some features only turned on for the paid versions. While both Wickr Me and Signal are super secure services, they have a number of functional differences that could lead you to choose one over the other.
If anonymity is important to you, and you are okay with everything you send disappearing after a few days, Wickr Me could be the secure messenger for you.
Note: As an alternative to Wickr Me , you can also get the Basic version of Wickr Pro, which includes more options and is also free.
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Encrypt All Your Data With A VPN
Online security and privacy extends well beyond your preferred messaging app. Even if youre already using one of the best private messaging apps shown here, there are many ways your data can leak online. Public Wi-Fi exposes your data, and your internet service provider can monitor your online activity.
A VPN places your online privacy securely in your hands to protect your internet traffic from anyone trying to see what youre doing. By encrypting your entire internet connection, AVG Secure VPN keeps your data safe and private on its way to wherever its going: a banking or shopping site, an online game, or even your favorite messaging app. Protect all your personal data with AVG Secure VPN.
Can Someone Spy On My Phone Without Touching It
Most of the time, someone needs physical access to your phone to install spyware onto it.
However, as weve seen, its also possible to install spyware remotely by convincing you to download the compromised app yourself. This can be done through phishing emails, corrupted SMS messages, and trojan horse apps.
Unfortunately, spyware apps arent the only way that someone can spy on your phone activity, though.
ISPs, governments, WiFi administrators, search engines, website owners, and hackers all have the capacity to spy on certain aspects of what you do on your phone without having to install any spyware software.
For example, your ISP can see which websites you visit, how long you spend there, your social media activity, who you send emails to, where youre located, and much much more.
As we live more of our lives online, its becoming easier for authorities, big businesses and hackers to spy on our activities. Its therefore crucial you start to take steps to secure your phone and protect your online privacy.
Start by using the below two online privacy and security tools:
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Are Sms Text Messages Secure And Private Does A VPN Encrypt Them
It might be tempting to think that a Virtual Private Network service will help secure standard text messages. Its a logical assumption, given the marketing from VPN providers. But, are SMS text messages secure?
No. Standard SMS text messages are not secure or private. They are sent in plain text without encryption. Messages are transmitted over a cellular service providers call control channel, which was only designed to start voice calls. The 160-character limitation prevents encryption from being practical.
Theres a bit more to understand about the 1990s, old-school SMS text message. Lets also clarify VPNs, and how to encrypt text messages properly.
Secure And Hide Your Internet Traffic
Now that we understand how standard SMS works, we can see that using a VPN does not encrypt text messages.
A VPN provides security by encrypting your internet traffic from your internet service provider and other users on the same Wi-Fi network. It also alters the Internet Protocol or IP address recorded by the destination online service. Altering this part of your metadata helps anonymize your online profile or fingerprint.
Since SMS text messages are sent across your mobile phones cellular voice control channel, they are not part of standard internet traffic. Your VPN connection is not involved.
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VPN An Extra Layer Of Privacy
If you want to make sure that nobody is eavesdropping on your messaging, we highly advise you to use a VPN. A virtual private network, better known as VPN, basically enables you to encrypt all of your traffic. This includes your messages as well. Heres a list of the best VPN service for secure online messaging. You can also read our comprehensive VPN review guide here.
- Best for streaming and privacy
- High speed servers in 160 VPN locations
- Works for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
- 24/7/ live chat support
How To Send An Encrypted Sms
Weve covered using apps that send messages via the internet, but you might want to send a message while you dont have data on your plan or access to WiFi. Plain old SMS will get the job done, but youll have to encrypt it first. You can do that with an aptly named app: Encrypt Messages and Text.
The app doesnt have any form of key agreement, so youll have to trade passwords secretly before you start using it. However, it does use AES/CBC/PKCS5P encryption to encrypt and decrypt all messages, which will guarantee the privacy and security of your messages.
To send messages, the person youre trying to text needs to have Encrypt Messages and Text installed, and youll need to exchange passwords. Then you can each encrypt your messages in the app and send the ciphertext to the recipient with a standard text message. So, unless someone works out your password, they wont be able to read the messages.
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Can You Encrypt Text Messages
The Secret Message app can be downloaded by opening the Android Market app on your device. You can now send encrypted SMS messages through the app by entering a secret key, signing in with your email address, entering your message message in the message box, tapping encrypt, and tapping Send via SMS.
Make Adjustments To Your Dns
By default, your devices are configured to use the DNS of your internet service provider. This makes it easier for them to track your browsing habits. You can actually use a third party DNS so that your ISP wont know the machine translations of your websites.
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Viber The Best Encrypted Messaging App For Communities
|The encryption protocol is not open-source|
|High-quality encrypted voice and video calls||Phone number needed for sign-up|
|Support for large communities|
Vibers one of the most popular messaging apps in the world and is owned by Rakuten. It blends high-level security with several useful features and is incredibly popular amongst casual users.
All messages, calls, and videos are end-to-end encrypted by default on the security front. Users can also set self-destruct times for all messages in the chat. Moreover, chats can also be hidden and protected with a PIN to prevent unauthorized access.
While a number is required for sign-up, it can be hidden when starting new chats. This helps reduce the personal information visible to other Viber users. Vibers Community feature is perhaps its most notable.
You can add an unlimited number of members to a Community without disclosing the members phone numbers. As a result, Viber is particularly useful for content creators wishing to communicate with their fans.
Viber is one of the best overall encrypted messaging apps you can use. But its encryption protocol is not open-source, which detracts from transparency. Moreover, creating a Viber account requires a phone number, so, its not completely anonymous.
Does A VPN Hide Your Messages
Wi-Fi networks that are on the same side of your home network are able to keep a VPN safe so it can encrypt and hide your internet traffic from your ISP as well as other users on the same network. They are not considered part of standard cellular internet traffic since SMS messages go from your mobile phones cellular voice control to you. There is no way to hide texts from a VPN.
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The 9 Best Encrypted Messaging Apps In 2022 A Detailed Comparison
Before we get started, heres a brief overview of how the best encrypted messaging apps stack up against each other.
|Run by a non-profit organization|
|Regular security audits|
Signal has become synonymous with secure and encrypted communication. Its encryption protocol is strong and reliable and is even used by other messaging apps, like WhatsApp. However, unlike WhatsApp, Signal is run by a non-profit which is unlikely to monetize your data.
Moreover, it bosts other key security features such as disappearing messages and password-protected conversations. Signal is also open-source, so anyone can review its source code to see how it leverages user data.
Signals encryption relies on the concept of perfect-forward secrecy. It uses a ratchet system, which simply changes the encryption key after each message. More importantly, it uses a combination of Curve25519, HMAC-SHA256, and AES-256 encryption protocols as its low-level cryptographic algorithms. In laymans terms, its virtually impossible to crack.
Not only does Signal offer top-notch security, but it also comes packed with useful communication features. The app can be used to send messages, images, documents, and files. You can also create groups of up to 1000 people and host video calls with 40 people!
There are a couple of downsides to Signal, though. For instance, it doesnt allow for anonymous sign-ups and requires a users phone number when creating an account.