Are you also wary of WhatsApp right now?
You are not alone. WhatsApp has lost millions of users already just because of their latest privacy steps which do not seem to be aimed at better privacy at all.
Fortunately, these users are finding haven in other privacy-focused IM apps. Some of the biggest winners of this migration are:
Telegram has always run on the platform of privacy so nothing is surprising here.
The platform also recently introduced the option to migrate your chars from WhatsApp. Thus, you can continue from the app as nothing changed.
Besides that, they offer the same end-to-end encryption as WhatsApp and have been running the disappearing messages game for some time now. On top of that, they have one of the best secret chat features and improved message deletion (on both communicating devices).
We don’t have much to say on this one.
Elon Musk endorsed the app for his Twitter followers after the WhatsApp privacy issue started. Besides him, this is also the choice IM for Edward Snowden.
Given that it is backed by Brian Acton – co-founder of WhatsApp who left Facebook on privacy grounds – we trust the app even more.
Viber might not compare with the other apps here on the user base, but it also has security advantages to talk about.
End-to-end encryption is supposed to be a standard these days and we have that here also. Likewise, Viber excels in allowing users to make international calls at very nominal rates to even non-Viber users.
If you plan on continuing your groups on Viber, though, we have bad news – the app doesn’t allow more than 200 participants per group. For that, you would prefer the 200,000 capacity that Telegram brings to the table.
Threema has created a chat solution to protect user privacy and they are not afraid to charge (a small fee) for this.
The platform is an open-source chat client, making it as transparent as can be. This also means that developers can contribute to the growth of the platform and even better security.
Probably the best thing about Threema is that it doesn’t require your phone number or email address to create an account. That makes it one of the most anonymous ways to chat online.
Likewise, the company owns all of its servers and doesn’t have to share data with anyone else. Since it’s already paid for, they don’t have to worry about making money from selling user data.
If not for the fact that iMessage is only open to Apple users, it would have been up there with Telegram.
We have a high level of trust for Apple products when it comes to user privacy and security. They already charge a premium for their units so they don’t have to sell the customer to hit their profit margins. Likewise, the company has taken a public stand against user privacy breaches for years now.
Integrated with Facetime for secure video and voice calls too, iMessage has one of the most user-friendly interfaces for a chat service.
If you are a gamer, you will find Discord more suitable to your chat needs than ever.
The company behind this service has been improving the service for its gamer community for long now. Today, it can as well be used by anyone looking for a secure and safe IM. Since Discord makes money from subscriptions already, they don’t need to collect and sell user data.
That said, there is a bit of a learning curve with using Discord – from setting up your server to running a group. If you can get around that, you are good to go.
Skype might have started as a video-calling giant but they now have enough tools to support their text-based messaging too.
The platform has been gently transformed from a pure business tool to a consumer-focused solution also. Now offering all of the privacy features that we like on top of a beautiful UI, there is a lot to gain from this service.
Beefing Up Your Online Privacy
Image from Pixabay.com
You know the apps that give you a better shot at chat privacy now, but chatting is just one of the many things that you do online.
As you are protecting your data when reaching out to friends and family, you should also care about how safe your data is when you are accessing other parts of the internet.
Here are some pointers in that direction:
#1 Privacy-focused browsers
You might not have given this much thought before, but some browsers are more tuned to give you better privacy than the others. Where other browsers might even collect your data to sell to marketers or use it internally, the privacy-focused picks do not.
Some of the browsers you should be using are Tor, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Brave browser.
#2 Install a VPN
You need to download a trustworthy VPN for more reasons than one. The obvious reason is to change your IP address at will. What about:
- Encrypting your internet network to keep hackers out
- Staying anonymous online
- Preventing data sniffing and snooping by hackers
- Tunneling your data even if you were on unsecured networks (like public Wi-Fi) and more?
#3 Install Anti-malware
There was a time when malware could only get onto your device when you intentionally download a file online. These days, many websites are infected with malware and some of them do not even know it. Visiting such websites could expose you to the same malware.
With an antimalware app, you are protected against malicious files and codes in websites, links, attachments, and messages.
Users have a lot to do for improved privacy and online security. As the popular adage goes, Rome was not built in a single day.
If you can take the time and effort to start implementing the high-impact yet almost zero-cost approaches above, you are well on your way to an improved user privacy and security model.