Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you already know that nothing you do online is ever completely private. The NSA could be watching you, or you could simply fall victim to a nosy neighbor. And what if you get hacked? Or if your phone is lost or stolen?
Bottom line: Your private life isn't private at all when you use a smartphone. Fortunately, there are many programs that help you send private or encrypted messages. I'm sure you've seen some of them featured on my site.
But how do you know which ones really protect your privacy? Do you just take their word for it?
That's where the Secure Messaging Scorecard comes into play. A group of security enthusiasts ranked which services really protect your messages, based on a set of 7 different guidelines:
- Is your communication encrypted in transit?
- Is your communication encrypted with a key the provider doesn't have access to?
- Can you independently verify your correspondent's identity?
- Are past communications secure if your keys are stolen?
- Is the code open to independent review?
- Is the crypto design well-documented?
- Has there been an independent security audit?
Then, the researchers pulled a list from AIM to Yahoo Messengers and graded accordingly. The results may surprise you - or maybe not. I wasn't surprised to see that Google Hangouts falls short on 5 out of 7 categories.
Who are the real winners? Services like TextSecure, Silent Text and Silent Phone earned check marks across the board.
Where does your secure messaging system sit? Click here to take a look at the scorecard and find out.