Online communications have been increasing rapidly over the past few years. However, there are many incidents revealing Internet surveillance. If you think of Edward Snowden and the revelations that he had brought to the public about NSA and mass surveillance acts, you will see why we need a way of securely communicating with each other online.
Even though there are a plethora of options out there, not many can take pride in being reliable and safe to use. If you are in search of the best alternatives available to this date, have a look at the EFF scoreboard.
In the EFF scoreboard, all the options that we get today in communication are analyzed as per their features and level of encryption. The criteria used by the experts include the ability of encryption in transit, encryption that does not allow the provider to read what you are communicating, verification of the sender’s and recipient’s identities, security of past communications and open code, proper documentation and code audit.
As you can imagine, this is only the beginning and EFF is planning to move forward with a more detailed scoreboard in the near future.
From the EFF scoreboard, we can get quite a few enlightening pieces of information.
For example, BlackBerry Messenger does not score well – on the contrary, BlackBerry Protected is much more reliable as an option of communication. ChatSecure + Orbot, CryptoCat and Off the Record Messaging for Windows (Pidgin), Signal/RedPhone, Silent Phone and Silent Text, TextSecure and Telegram have passed the test with flying colors. On the other hand, Yahoo!Messenger and WhatsApp, Viber and Skype are not that secure. They do not offer adequate encryption and thus they are not to be trusted.
Cryptography is the number one criterion when we seek safe and secure communication. Nevertheless, we see that more and more people nowadays continue on using unsafe methods of communication.
Although they have been warned about potential risks, they go ahead with their habits and do not change them for something else. This happens due to the fact that the broadly used programs are easier to use.
If something of quality and ease of use was to be released, people would look it up and try it out. This is what EFF, Julia Angwin at ProPublica and Joseph Bonneau at the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy all have been trying to accomplish.
Safe, secure and usable cryptography can save the day and offer people of all backgrounds (tech savvies and not) the chance to remain protected while communicating with others.
Ali Qamar is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. He is the founder and chief editor at Security Gladiators, an ultimate source for cyber security. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57
(Security Affairs – EFF scoreboard, encryption, secure messaging)