Jun 21, 2018

A short while ago in the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung Simon Hurtz and Franziska Schwarz delivered a brief overview of the numerous messengers – in particular with the focus on security vs convenience: “Messenger are definitely practical. But as with social networks there are some security concerns as well: Who is able to read the messages? Is the communication being encrypted and protected against the access by intelligence services? Some providers have discovered security aware users as a target group and are now positioning themselves in this niche next to the top dog Whatsapp. The problem: Even the most exemplary data protection is meaningless when not a single friend is using the service. We have tested which app is mastering this balancing act of convenience and security best.” Link to the article (German language)

Six messengers and thus presumably about 90 percent of all these systems have been examined: Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Threema, Telegram, Line and Skype. The conclusion of these tests can be summarized in a single sentence: Meanwhile all messengers have become significantly more secure than three or four years ago (some of them didn’t even exist four years ago). They are considerably more secure and user friendly than the good old SMS anyway, yet some doubts about all systems remain.

More than half of the messengers do not have an end-to-end encryption (such is the case with the “test winner” Telegram). This alone is bad, but it is not the crucial point. The in my point of view crucial aspect received only minor attention in this review: Where are the servers?

Even in case of private use of a messenger the question is not unimportant at all, for business applications however this question is crucial. Business critical messenger solutions should not be handed over to third party servers. Therefore companies cannot avoid to find their own solutions. They don’t have to start from scratch. We already have a good basis to build on fast. Safe for certain!