Three easy security apps to install and encrypt your Android communication (voice, chat, texts)

Three easy security apps to install and encrypt your Android communication (voice, chat, texts)
Ever since the NSA's snooping on our every line of communication became known, a new breed of apps has emerged, focused on security and encryption. It's exactly because of their decentralized nature and industrial-strength encryption, however, that a lot of handsets have problems running them, with either all kinds of problems making them functional, or too much force closure issues.

This is why we sifted through most of the security apps out there, and came up with a simple trio that not only encrypt your communication from prying government or other eyeballs, but also have simple, pretty interfaces, and are easy to set up. These qualities, believe it or not, are a rarity in the world of security applications, but the set we've chosen doesn't even require you to go outside the realm of US servers and install Korean or Chinese messaging apps, as some are suggesting to do in order to evade the all-around snooping these days. Here they are:

Wickr-Top Secret Messenger


The brainchild of renowned activist hacker Nico Sell, Wickr has been born out of long Def Con sessions, and the desire to provide whistleblowers with a secure line of communication that the government can't subpoena. Well, it can, but the military grade encryption means that the messaging is scrambled, and there is nothing on Wickr's servers that can identify the account holders, too. You might have noticed Wickr being featured in Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow" vid, or heard about Australian politicians using it to hide the content of their communication, adding further to the app's street cred.

You can chat and exchange files or media in a self-destructing style, ranging from six days to a few seconds, and the period can be adjusted individually for each message. Being a Nico Sell creation, she has also tried to make Wickr as user-friendly as possible, with a fast and polished interface, plus an extremely zippy setup process, compared to most other secure communication apps with the same level of encryption, so it can easily replace all your Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messenger or Skype sessions with not much to be missed from those.



SMSSecure


Now that TextSecure no longer has the funds to offer text messaging encryption over your carrier's short messaging system, but rather offers encryption over 3G/4G/Wi-fi data only, a new SMSSecure app has arrived to pick up the slack. Unlike TextSecure, it is not in the Play Store, so you need to download and install the APK file from the link above. The developer has taken things even further, though, now employing 256 bit symmetric AES encryption instead of 128 bit, and 192 bit elliptic curve encryption instead of 160 - in a nutshell, your text messages will be even more spy-proof with it.


RedPhone :: Private Calls



End-to-end encrypted calling is one of the hardest thing to do in the realm of secure communication, but RedPhone, while not perfect, has managed to do just that with the greatest success rate of them all. It is powered by the volunteer army of the renowned Open Whisper Systems - a nonprofit software group that develops open source projects with a mission to "make private communication simple," and just works most of the time.

The best part with RedPhone is that it integrates your own phone number to make and receive calls, unlike a lot of others that route you through an extra identifier. The calls still employ an end-to-end encryption, so nobody can chime in, yet calling works just like you're used to. The coding is free and open, so it is prone to independent auditing, which is one of the prerequisites for the Electronic Frontier Foundation to rank its "most secure" awards.

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2 Comments

1. TechWhale

Posts: 23; Member since: Nov 08, 2014

What's with the cat video?

2. DannyJr

Posts: 38; Member since: May 08, 2014

I will still keep TextSecure for the moment. It is still very secure and reliable, and I have been using it for more than a year now. I have already backed up the APK for TextSecure 2.5.3 so that I can downgrade if ever I mistakenly update my app. Redphone works well, though there is a perceptible lag in the call. I have used it successfully to call my family back home while I was in South Korea last week. Since it makes calls over the internet, there is no long distance charges. All I need is free wifi, which is near ubiquitous in Seoul, Daejeon, and even Changwon. Plus, it is encrypted so I am secured from US eavesdropping (a given since S. Korea is still "at war" with the North, and the US has military bases in the country).

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