We recently took a look at some of the most popular encrypted chat apps on the market, but as several commenters pointed out didn’t even scratch the surface of what’s available. Without further ado, here’s round two of our look at the best ways to keep virtual eavesdroppers out of your conversation.
Formerly Torsion, Ricochet describes itself as “the world’s first, private, peer-to-peer social network.” It allows users to privately post, call, chat and share information but records none of this information. Using a combination of P2P architecture and multicast, the service creates a nearly-invisible electronic footprint, describing itself as “BitTorrent for Comms”. By directly connecting users rather than relying on multiple servers, Ricochet limits the possibility of accidental data loss or compromise.
Ricochet is available for Android, iOS and BlackBerry OS.
Unsurprisingly, TorChat runs on the anonymous Tor network to offer chat protection. To communicate, all you need is the TorChat ID of a new contact, along with their display name. The chat program is freely available at GitHub and is also known as torchat2, built on Lazarus and Free Pascal. While the original Python implementation is still available, torchat2 makes it easier to create new plugins for IM apps.
TorChat is available for Linux and Windows.
Silent Circle offers a suite of privacy products to meet the needs of smartphone users including encrypted calling, video conferencing and text messaging. If you want to make phone calls you’ll have to shell out for a subscription fee every month, and the same goes for the standalone texting app — download is free but if you’re not a subscriber the app won’t work.
Silent Circle is available on Windows and the Silent Text app is available iOS and Android devices.
This messaging app focuses on strong encryption practices to secure your messages, and promises that every message is both encrypted with a new key along with being “wrapped in a double-layer cryptographic scheme for complete end-to-end security.” The SC3 platform lets you send and receive secure text messages between any Seecrypt-enabled device worldwide.
The Seecrypt app is available for Windows Phone, Android, iOS and Blackberry OS.
Unseen is an Icelandic app that offers private messaging, calling, email and hosting. Users can sign up for a month-to-month account or for free — free users get small amount of free encrypted storage and file sharing up to 50MB. Premium users get 2GB of storage, file sharing to 40GB and can generate private keys.
Unseen is available for Windows Phone, iOS, Android and as a Linux app.
Gliph, meanwhile, focuses on the online transaction market and offers a marketplace, baked-in Bitcoin transaction support and free secure group messaging. Think of it like a one-stop classified section where you can browse deals, message sellers and buy items in real time.
Gliph is available both on the Web for desktops and via iOS and Android apps.
This secure messaging app was designed by an IM+ team in Germany and offers 2048-bit encryption in addition to messages that self-destruct on a custom timer. Group messaging is also included in the free service, and includes the benefit of no “open data” in push notifications when new messages arrive.
Sicher is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phones.
Threema claims to be unlike other secure messaging apps because they operate their own chat server but are not able to read any of your messages. This is done using asymmetric encryption on your device itself, rather than at the server level, and also allows you to send photos, videos and voice messages with the same level of encryption as text messages — it’s worth noting, however, that the app is not free.
Threema is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Wickr’s claim to fame is that it lets you “escape the Internet” and the possibility of your messages being stored forever. To do so, it uses device-side encryption and decryption and binds all messages to the receiving device. You’re also able to find friends without providing your contact list, set messages to self-destruct and keeps no metadata.
Wickr is available for free on iOS and Android.
Bitmessage is a free P2P service available on Github and uses an open source client. It is both decentralized and trustless, and allows you to send encrypted messages to both single recipients or large groups.
Bitmessage is available for Windows and OS X.
Featured image: Viktor Hanacek / picjumbo (image has been modified)