The story of which instant messaging app is better is an endless story. Each one has a reason or another to use one or other application, and being subjective arguments are difficult to judge or debate.
However, an objective indicator, a good standard to decide which app is better than another, is security. WhatsApp and Telegram are safe, for the reasons that we will now tell you, but there is one that is even more so: Signal.
Signal, for those who do not remember it, is the courier application recommended by Edward Snowden. Like the other two apps, Signal has end-to-end encrypted conversations, but it has a number of features that make it more secure than the others. Which? Well, keep reading, you’ll discover them.
Why is Signal more secure than WhatsApp and Telegram?
Let’s start by the beginning. Signal was born in 2010 with the TextSecure Protocol, which evolved in 2014 to Signal Protocol. This protocol allows you to encrypt the conversations, calls and files sent from end to end, that is, I have a code that encrypts and only you, as a receiver, have the code that decrypts. That way it is impossible to spy on conversations with techniques like Man in the Middle.
This same protocol was adopted by the instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger or Skype. However, there are several differences between these apps. Why, if all of them use the Signal Protocol, Signal itself is safer than the others?
The failures of WhatsApp and Telegram
WhatsApp and Telegram are safe applications, yes, but they have some important faults. WhatsApp has encrypted conversations and everything you want, but Facebook controls it and has the possibility of crossing data, not to mention that it is not open source. Facebook controls the app in its entirety, has access to its code and can do with it what it wants, whether you like it or not.
For its part, Telegram is encrypted, yes, but only secret chats are from end to end. Conversations with other users or groups have a server-client encryption (MTProto Mobile Protocol), with the vulnerabilities that this entails. Only secret chats are encrypted end-to-end. Also, it is not 100% open source. Its API is the one that is open source, but Telegram is the one that manages the backend. In addition, its operation based on the cloud has also been criticized by security experts for the risks involved.
Why is Signal different?
Because it is 100% open source, and nobody controls the backend. There is no company with its own interests behind the app – in fact, Open Whisper System is maintained thanks to the donations of its users. You can configure the application so that your content does not appear in the multitasking, enable a password, block the app after a period of inactivity, use a safe incognito keyboard and, my favourite, notifies you if someone takes a screenshot of the chat.
Signal is security messaging raised to the nth power (so it has to be for Snowden to recommend it). However, it has the same problem that Telegram has: the user base. WhatsApp exceeds 1.2 billion, Telegram 180 million. Signal has just over 5 million downloads on Google Play. Is it possible that it is time for users to begin to assess safety above facilities? It can be, but it is very curious that among the 900 contacts that I have in my contact list, only six use Signal.
So, what do you think about this? Simply share all your thoughts and opinion in the comment section below.