svpt-ptnbitfresende

WhatsApp Alternatives: The Safest Options

Whatsapp_logoWe almost cannot imagine a world without chat apps anymore. Chat services offer us a way to communicate with each other without having to pay for every message or every minute of calling. WhatsApp is an extremely popular example of such a chat service. It is one of the most popular chat apps in Europe, Russia, Africa, and South America. Worldwide, WhatsApp has over 1,5 billion users. Because the app is so popular it is often the best option to communicate with all your friends. However, since WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, it might be time to look at safer alternatives. What are these alternatives? Read all about them below!

Large line

Why Do We Need an Alternative to WhatsApp?

While WhatsApp is an extremely useful app, it also has had some issues with protecting the privacy of its users. For this reason, it might be smart to look into some alternatives. In 2014 WhatsApp was bought by Facebook. This caused quite a fuss because WhatsApp users were afraid that Facebook would collect all their data.

In 2016 the WhatsApp privacy conditions were changed. By accepting these changed privacy conditions you allow WhatsApp to share information with third parties. Among this information were your phone number, your contact list, and your user information (when you used the app). Moreover, WhatsApp saves your messages on your phone without encrypting them. So while they do have end-to-end encryption, which protects the data while it travels from one device to another, they do not protect it on your phone itself. This is a weak spot in the protection of your privacy.

WhatsApp can also store your data outside of your phone. You can create a back-up with a Cloud service. Before the chat history wasn’t encrypted and both the Cloud service provider and hackers could easily read you conversations. Nowadays, WhatsApp does encrypt the back-ups. However, hackers have made it known that it would not be difficult to crack this encryption, with the SIM card of the devices that was used to make the back-up.

WhatsApp clearly has some safety and privacy issues, both on your phone and with external services. Changing your WhatsApp privacy settings will only help your privacy so much. These issues have created sufficient reason to check out some alternatives to WhatsApp. Below you can read about 5 safer alternatives. You can also read about 3 extremely popular alternatives but these are considerably less safe than the first 5 options.

Large line

Safe Alternatives to WhatsApp

A large share of our lives now takes place on our phones and communication is a big part of that. It’s not surprising that there are a great many chat-apps to choose from. However, if you want to communicate anonymously, most of these apps won’t be appropriate. It has proven to be quite difficult to guarantee the safety and anonymity of the users of a chat app.

When you are looking for a safe communication app it is important to check if the service shares your information with third parties. Moreover, the service should encrypt your messages, otherwise they will be easy to get a hold of. Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks are a common method for intercepting information. You will read more about that later. Finally, a good app should protect your saved messages well. Below you will read about the following apps that are safe alternatives to WhatsApp:

  • Surespot
  • Signal
  • Wire
  • Threema
  • Telegram

Large line

Surespot

Surespot-logoThe first alternative is Surespot. This is the safest alternative of them all. It is a messenger service, just like WhatsApp, except Surespot focuses on safety and privacy. They use the strong 256-bit AES-GCM encryption and end-to-end encryption. Moreover, Surespot uses SSL/TLS protocols. This combination makes sure all communication between your device and the server is encrypted.

You can use Surespot completely anonymously. You don’t even have to share your phone number and contact list with the app. Furthermore, Surespot uses an encrypted storage for your chat history, on your own device. Finally, they do not share any information with third parties.

Sadly, there are some downsides to Surespot. The app doesn’t work with all devices. It is only available for Android and iOS. This means, for instance, that you cannot use the service on your laptop or PC. Moreover, the use of Surespot isn’t widespread, which means you might not be able to communicate to the people you know. Only if you convince them to start using Surespot as well.

Pros Cons
End-to-end encryption Limited compatibility
Strong encryption Few users
Use anonymously
Safe storage of messages

Large line

Signal

Signal-logoThe second alternative to WhatsApp is Signal. This application is very safe and trustworthy. Moreover, it is very user-friendly. All  traffic is encrypted end-to-end with Signal. They also offer extended protection against MITM attacks, where hackers try to intercept your traffic.

Signal also uses SSL/TLS protocols and doesn’t keep any user logs. You can choose whether or not you give the app access to your contact list. Moreover, your chat history is encrypted and saved on your device. This way you prevent leaking any information when your telephone is lost or stolen.

Sadly, you cannot use Signal anonymously because they do want to know your telephone number. What you could do is use an extra telephone number like a prepaid number. This way, the people you chat with will only see that second telephone number. On the Signal website they explain how this works exactly. Signal is available for Android and iOS.

Pros Cons
End-to-end encryption Limited compatibility
User-friendly Few users
Protection against MITM attacks No anonymous usage
Safe storage of messages

Large line

Wire

Wire-messenger-logoThe third alternative to WhatsApp is Wire. This is a well-protected chat service. On their website they claim to be the safest chat app on the market. With this app, your messages will be sent with (HMAC-SHA 256-bit) end-to-end encryption. And all video calls will be protected with SRTP encryption. This is generally considered a strong protection of data. Wire encrypts all your messages and saves them on your phone.

The app offers this solid protection on several operating systems. You can use the app on Android, iOS, and Windows. Moreover, you can use it in a web browser which means everyone can use it regardless of their operating system. You can also log in on several devices at the same time.

Wire also has some great functions. You can chat, call, and share files. Moreover, you can video call with up to 10 people at the same time. Wire respects the privacy of their users and you can use the app without giving them your contact list.

Wire does have some downsides. You have to provide them with a telephone number or email address. Furthermore, they do not offer the best protection against MITM attacks. Sadly, Wire keeps behavior logs that tell them who you communicated with. They state they only do so to improve their services.

Pros Cons
End-to-end encryption Less effective protection against MITM attacks
Many functions Few users
Available for a lot of operating systems Keeps behavior logs
Safe storage of messages

Large line

Threema

Threema-logoAnother alternative to WhatsApp is Threema. Threema is a chat services that focuses on security and anonymity. Threema is situated in Switzerland, which means it has to adhere to strict European security rules for messenger services. On their website they present 6 guarantees that their users can rely on. Among these are a guarantee for complete anonymity and excellent encryption.

Threema uses 256-bit encryption and all the messages are encrypted from end-to-end. Furthermore, they offer strong protections against MITM attacks. This way they prevent third parties from intercepting your chat traffic. Your chat history is safely kept on your own devices. This means none of your personal information is saved on the Threema servers.

Next to this high level of protection, Theema is also very functional. Not only can you chat and call, you can also share files, locations, and surveys. Moreover, you can change the format of the text in your messages.

Threems scores well on respecting the privacy of their users. The chat service does not keep any behavior logs and you can use their service without giving them your contact list. Moreover, you do not need to give them your telephone number or email address. Sadly, Threema isn’t available for all operating systems. You can only use Threema on Android or iOS devices.

Pros Cons
End-to-end encryption Limited compatibility
Many functions Few users
Complete anonymity
Safe storage of messages
Strong protection against MITM attacks

Large line

Telegram

Telegram-logoThe final alternative to WhatsApp is Telegram. This is probably the best known alternative and it already has 200 million active users around the world. Telegram was the first chat service to use end-to-end encryption. They use the secure 256-bit symmetric AES encryption. Furthermore, Telegram is a very fast messenger service because they have servers all around the globe.

Telegram has a lot of platform options; you can use the service on almost all devices and operating systems. Telegram also has some other interesting functions. They offer the option to create a group chat that up to 100.000 people can join. Moreover, there is no limit to the amount of pictures or files you can share.

Telegram also is the safest chat service of them all. They are so sure of themselves, that they offer a $300.000 reward to the person that cracks their encryption. However, there is some critique of their security system. Apparently, the service does have some weak spots when the storage of messages is concerned. All messages are saved on the Telegram servers, while experts say it is safer to store this information on the device of the user.

Telegram also got some backlash because the end-to-end encryption isn’t automatically turned on. This is only turned on when a private chat conversation is started. When you use the regular chat, end-to-end encryption is turned off and behavior logs are kept. This means they can keep track of who you chat with and when. You cannot use Telegram anonymously, because they do want your telephone number and access to your contact list.

Pros Cons
End-to-end encryption (in private chat) Some weak spots in the security
Unique functions Keeps behavior logs
Fast chat service No anonymous use
200 million users

Large line

Popular Alternatives to WhatsApp

Below you can find information on some widely used alternatives to WhatsApp. Remember that these services are not necessarily safer than WhatsApp. We have included them because they are popular, not because they are better. Having many users is an essential feature of a chat service. Sadly, the safest options are not necessarily the most popular. If you do not care about your privacy or anonymity one of the following options might be suitable for you.

Large line

Facebook Messenger (1,2 billion users)

MessengerLogoFacebook Messenger is a strong competitor for WhatsApp with over 1,2 billion users worldwide. The app is linked to Facebook and particularly popular in North-America, Australia, and part of Europe. Messenger has all the features that you are used to with WhatsApp, and more. You can send messages, share photos, video call, and take part in group chats. Furthermore, Messenger offers an additional feature that allows you to share pictures with friends that disappear after a day. This feature might sound familiar if you use Snapchat.

Facebook Messenger also has a secret conversation function. This makes sure the messages are end-to-end encrypted. However, they do this in a slightly different manner than most other chat apps. Messages in Messenger are decrypted at some point. They are encrypted again once they end up on the Facebook server. Because of this Facebook can get access to all your data, including the content of your conversations in Messenger. Keep this in mind when using this service.

no standard end-to-end encryption

 

Pros Cons
Many users Weak spots in the security
Many functions Collects a lot of data
No anonymous use
No standard end-to-end encryption
Facebook has access to the chats

Large line

Viber (980 Million Users)

Viber-logoViber is a relatively unknown service in Western Europe and the United States. However, it is better known in parts of Asia and Russia, where most of its users are. In some countries this service has quite a big market share. Viber offers all the features that most other apps also do.

With Viber you can chat, make a video call, create group chats, and share files. You can also send GIFs in Viber. Furthermore, Viber has the unique feature that allows you to switch between devices when you are making a video call. This means you can switch from your laptop to your mobile phone without hanging up on the person on the other end.

With Viber you can also make calls to contacts that do not have the Viber app installed on their phone. You can do this by linking your PayPal or credit card to your Viber account. This allows you to call people all over the world, without having to pay top dollar. Viber clearly has some nice additional features. You can use Viber on all the largest operating systems, such as, Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X.

Viber does have decent protection. They use 256-bit end-to-end encryption and don’t save any information on their servers. This is generally considered as a solid protection of data traffic. It also helps that, unlike WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, Viber isn’t part of Facebook. Viber says they do not share any information with other companies. However, there are some weak spots in its protection. Viber does keep logs and can see who you chatted with and when. There is no way you can use this app completely anonymously.

One downside to Viber is that the menus are not as clear as the WhatsApp menu. The app is less user-friendly than many of the apps mentioned above.

Pros Cons
Many users Weak spots in the security
Many functions Needs your contact list
End-to-end encryption No anonymous use
Crashes a lot
Keeps connection logs

Large line

WeChat (963 Million Users)

WeChat-logoWeChat has over 963 million users mostly in China, which makes it the most used app in the country. Outside of China, few people know about the app. We include it in our list because it is very big and might be useful for those who want to communicate with people in that region. However, because it is heavily censured by the Chinese government we wouldn’t recommend this app for anonymous communication.

WeChat is very popular because it is more than just a chat app. It offers more features than any of the apps mentioned above. You can use WeChat to order food, unlock your bike, and pay for things. Moreover, it offers a feature that functions like Snapchat, called “Moments”. Here you can show pictures and videos of your daily life. WeChat also offers the possibility of creating a group chat with 500 people. All this is just the tip of the iceberg.

This might sound like it is too good to be true and it is. Because the chat is censored by the Chinese Government you won’t have the freedom to say what you want. Moreover, they can listen in on your conversations any time they like. The app does not offer end-to-end encryption, so we cannot call it secure in any way.

Pros Cons
Many users Heavy censorship
Many functions Needs your contact list
Blocks content
Many weak spots in the security
No encrypted storage

Large line

Make Your Own Choice with a VPN

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to look at alternatives to WhatsApp. You might do so because you want your data to be protected better. If this is the case we would recommend looking at the first 5 safer alternatives we provided.

It can also be that you are looking for an alternative because WhatsApp is blocked in your country. You can choose to look at alternatives but there are also ways to unblock WhatsApp. You can do this with a VPN that hides your real IP address. This way you can use WhatsApp by connecting to the internet through a server in a different country. If you want to know more about a VPN you can read this article that explains everything about VPNs in detail.

Large line

Final Thoughts

Chat apps have become an essential part of our day-to-day life. Everyday over 55 billion messages are sent through WhatsApp. Among these messages is a lot over private information that we wouldn’t want just anyone to read. Since WhatsApp does have some security risks it might be wise to look at some alternatives.

Above you will find the 5 safest alternatives to WhatsApp: Surespot, Signal, Wire, Threema, and Telegram.

With one of these alternatives your data will be securer and you can chat about whatever you like. If you cannot use WhatsApp or any of the other chat apps because they are blocked in your country, you can use a VPN.

We all want to chat with our friends, but it would be especially nice if we could do so in complete privacy.