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The best WhatsApp alternatives
There is no need for the app to access your contacts if you do not want it to do so. Hackers can also break into WhatsApp servers and gain access to the phone numbers and account details of users. Open-source software User-friendly platform Cloud-based so you never lose your material Cons: With end-to-end encryption and your data protected by European laws, Wire is a secure messaging app that can be a good alternative to Whatsapp. If you just need a slim, secure instant messenger for sending pictures and chats one-to-one, then Kontalk is a good option.

Worried about WhatsApp privacy? Fine print

The 5 Best (Secure) Alternatives to WhatsApp

Moreover, on their website it is recommended by Edward Snowden. At present, WhatsApp is used by more than a billion people, making it the most popular messaging app in the world. This is the reason why we look at this one first. There have been quite a few things going on at WhatsApp in recent years. Security As of , WhatsApp is protecting all messages with end-to-end-encryption based on the Signal Protocol, by default. Thus, any unauthorized person is prevented of reading the chats, including the service provider WhatsApp, themselves.

However, this feature needs to be activated manually. The security code protects users against man-in-the-middle attacks. Introducing end-to-end-encryption by default, WhatsApp achieved what the IT-security industry has been working towards for decades: Thus, marking a milestone in the history of encryption.

There are two sides two every story, though. Here are two things to be born in mind. Disadvantages WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in The acquisition was accompanied by an update of the terms of use, which was not exactly approved of and regarded with suspicion, especially in Europe: Following strong criticism, for example by the EU , WhatsApp eventually stopped the exchange of data with Facebook in Europe.

Nevertheless, the whole thing set us thinking. A further problem is the backup feature. Originally, WhatsApp stored the chat logs unencrypted on servers. There has been some improvements with regard to this.

Under certain circumstances, however, at least the unencrypted metadata can be viewed. Plus, if you or your conversation partner uses automatic backups to iCloud or a Google account, the chats will be in the cloud, unencrypted, as well. Data protectors are not yet satisfied with the new backup solution for iCloud. Still, the app downloads all data from the smartphone directory during installation. According to the Terms and Conditions, the Whatsapp user is responsible for obtaining the consent of each contact.

It is unnecessary to mention that this never happens and would be disproportionate. There is a security flaw in messages that are sent but not delivered. WhatsApp sells this gap as a feature. The argument is that there is no data loss when changing the mobile number on the receiver side.

Data protectors consider this circumstance at least questionable. We recommend this text in the Guardian for more information. Deleting Messages There is one special feature which is, despite having a crucial effect on data protection, often missing in instant messaging services: WhatsApp is essentially supporting this function, with some rather big limitation, though: Within this short time-frame it is possible to remove successfully transmitted and even already read messages.

But this feature does leave its traces: And there are more reasons to handle the procedure with care: Messages cannot be made unread and WhatsApp is not able to delete potential screenshots from the receiving device. Additionally, there are two options to delete messages: For your eyes only or for all participants of the chat.

Both options can be found in the same menu and may be confused with one another. In most instances it is too complicated or too late remember the seven-minute-window to correct such a mistake once it has been made. Signal was developed by security specialist Moxie Marlinspike, amongst others, at the non-profit group Open Whisper Systems. Signal offers group chats, text- and voice messaging, voice- and video calls, and the possibility to send images, videos, audios, emojis and stickers.

This should be covering the needs of most regular users. The cherry on top of all would be the feature to add text and drawings on images before sending them. This provides some protection against the dissemination of sensitive chat content. Security According to Open Whisper Systems, conversations are end-to-end encrypted by default using the open-source Signal Protocol.

This implies one additional step, as you have to either compare safety numbers via a different channel or meet the other person to scan QR codes. This procedure however, protects you against man-in-the-middle attacks. In contrast to WhatsApp, Signal does not back up any messages in the cloud. Therefore, the backups are secured locally. Disadvantages Signal requires to be verified via SMS code.

Hence, using Signal is only possible with a SIM card being used, which is excluding some user groups and use cases. A further issue might arise from the fact that the number of Signal users is comparatively small. Therefore, most people intending to change to Signal, will need to put effort into convincing their peer group first. This may also be one of the main criticisms, though other messengers exhibit the same problem. Just like Signal, Threema is considered outstanding in terms of its security.

The messaging app Made in Switzerland is being used by 4. Security During the registration process, an anonymous Threema-ID and password are generated. Profile name and picture are optional. Also optional is a link to your phone number or email address. There is no need for the app to access your contacts if you do not want it to do so. Just be aware, that this feature is activated by default and has to be deactivated manually — which we highly recommend. Furthermore, private chats can be hidden and secured by a PIN code.

There are three different categories of contacts, depending on the level of mutual trust: In order to mark contacts in green, you have to meet and verify them in person by scanning their QR codes. Thus, you are protected against man-in-the-middle attacks. Your chats on WhatsApp might be encrypted but Facebook can still see who you chat with more frequently. Once messages are delivered, they are deleted from the server, so no metadata is collected. Threema encrypts all types of message end-to-end including text, voice calls, files, and group chats.

It even encrypts your status messages so no-one can keep track of what you post in your status. Messages can be read only by the sender and the intended recipient. Just like WhatsApp, Threema can be used on the web. The conversations are loaded with features such as sending locations and files. Users can also create polls — not available in WhatsApp.

You can even hide particular chats and password-protect them. Each user gets a random 8 digit number as their Threema ID. This lets you use Threema while maintaining complete anonymity. All messages on Threema are encrypted individually with their own keys. Since it lets you join without providing your phone number, you might want to verify a contact before adding them.

Threema is based in Switzerland where privacy laws are user-friendly making it a secure messaging app. Threema has all the features to make it the number one messaging app.

Telegram is cloud-based, works across multiple platforms, uses a double-tick system to see when someone received a message, and has end-to-end encryption. Another thing that makes Telegram stand out is its security.

With over million users, Telegram is definitely a decent option. Outside of the sender and receiver, no one can read the messages sent on Telegram, even Telegram staff. With end-to-end encryption and your data protected by European laws, Wire is a secure messaging app that can be a good alternative to Whatsapp. In the Team plan, you can make team admins and can manage users. You also get priority support. There is also an Enterprise plan that gives you a self-hosted server along with integration APIs.

Wire boasts clear voice and video communications. It also has 1: You can share files with your contacts. Wire is available for all major platforms and you can log in your account from 8 synced devices. Wire allows embedded videos in chats, along with images, GIFs, and emojis.

It also lets users format text with bold and italics. You can also create lists in the chat leading to richer conversations than in Whatsapp. It allows for file size optimization to send attachments easily, even on slow connections. You can apply audio filters to voice messages. Wire lets you set a timer that will delete the messages to keep chats private.

Wire is known for its encryption and privacy. The timed messages feature adds to the privacy of the app. Riot lets you interact freely with your teams. You can create separate groups with different members or for different events and there are bots and tools to use to interact with your team and get tasks accomplished quickly. It supports VoIP and video calling and the messages are end-to-end encrypted. Riot lets you bridge to other applications as well.

It is available in seven languages and you can pick your native language for a more comfortable experience. Riot has conversation rooms and users can visit any public chat room. There are also some private rooms that can be visited with a link.

So when you need to chat with someone, you just have to give that ID and not your phone number. This helps you maintain your anonymity while chatting with someone. Riot works on open source software and while it has its own bots, developers are welcome to create their own. This lets users interact with the software and make it more versatile and secure.

Its open source features make Riot more suited for developer teams than corporate groups. In addition, the desktop client has a clean and friendly interface. Riot just might be the messaging app of the future. Riot aims to combine productivity tools with communication. By allowing you to develop your tools, it opens a lot of possibilities for future chat applications.

If you take the Snowden revelations seriously and look for better and more secure ways of communicating, you might want to ditch Whatsapp and find an alternative.

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A secure (European, so no Freedom Act either) alternative to WhatsApp is Alterdesk. Alterdesk is a secure messenger and enables you to send out text messages and (large, up to 1 GB per message) file attachments. Before it launched in mid-September , Allo was touted by Google as a secure mass-market alternative to WhatsApp – and although end-to-end encryption would not be turned on at all times, it promised that any message data . Safe and secure alternatives to WhatsApp Authored by: Kris Carlon Feb 20, The news last night that Facebook has agreed to buy WhatsApp has sent many scrambling to find an alternative instant messenger to WhatsApp.