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What to Expect from an Encrypted Chat App

Ciphr Team
June 11, 2020 - 10 min read

The Dawn of the Secure Chat App

After the short-lived popularity of SMS and the explosion of smartphones came the dawn of the secure chat app. Messaging apps and live chats now allow people from all over the globe to connect and share their thoughts, experiences and everyday stories with the world.

Being such an immediate, simple and available form of communication has made chat apps a must-have asset for practically anyone with a phone. At base, a secure chat room accommodates both direct and group communications. But more and more apps now enable users to share images, videos, files, voice calling, stickers, emoticons and more.

Since chat apps are cost-effective and offer a multitude of obvious advantages, it didn’t take long for a legion of chat app providers to dominate mobile communications. Titans like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook, Viber, Signal, Telegram and others now facilitate the transmission of information between billions of users worldwide.

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Collaboration Tools Every Team Needs

After having conquered private consumer communications, chat apps are now quickly making their way into the enterprise world. Instant messages are a productivity booster by nature. They enable teams to design and manage tasks quickly and simply, even more so than with dedicated team collaboration tools.

Their use is not limited to in-company communications, either. 84% of small businesses say WhatsApp free live chat helps them communicate with customers and increase sales. Facebook, Enterprise WeChat and others enable companies to do anything from raising brand awareness to selling products and services.

The trend of instant messaging apps marketing and live chat software services is expected to bloom in 2020. And, according to Radicati Group, business applications of chat apps are currently surpassing that of consumers.

Why Are Enterprises so Concerned about Chat Apps?

There’s no pretty way to say it - chat apps create dangerous security loopholes for both individual consumers and enterprises.

The biggest concern with chat rooms is the great deal of information they contain. The group’s name, list of members, objectives and activity logs are all part of crucial metadata. This sensitive information does not disappear, but is rather stored on third party servers. Having communications thus taken out of the secure and confidential space of the workplace means communication is constantly at risk. This is true even for companies that are using so-called secret chats.

Another great concern is compliance. Most companies have regulations and policies in place regarding storing communications records for auditing purposes. But today, private and work-related conversations often take place on the same platform. Chat apps therefore make it difficult to control and monitor internal and external communications. This makes record keeping and complying with state regulations quite challenging.

All in all, chat apps constitute a serious security hazard. Tremendous amounts of confidential company and consumer information is constantly being collected by unvetted providers, who often fail to follow adequate security protocols or state compliance regulations.

All It Takes Is One Security Loophole

The risk of not using a secure live chat is making more and more enterprises concerned about the use of these apps in the workplace.

In fact, the concern of enterprises about security issues has become so acute that many companies are now banning the use of chat apps. Germany leads the way with Deutsche Bank AG declaring an all-out ban of all communication apps, including WhatsApp, on company-issued phones. Despite the loss of functionality, neither the regulatory nor the security officer of the bank seem willing to take the risk. Soon after this announcement, 22% of Germany-based firms also banned the use of chat apps.

The growing phenomena of corporate bans on chat apps is not unjustified. Countless organizations have already fallen victim to a data breach caused by a backdoor to their chat collaboration tool. If that’s not enough, several high-profile hacks have finally made both consumers and organizations more privacy-conscious.

Chat apps are constantly at use by everyone, everywhere. This gives hackers and cybercriminals ample opportunity to execute phishing, malware, or various other attacks. Banning these apps is one way to fight these threats, but it means giving up one of the most convenient means of communication. An almost ludicrous proposition in a world so heavily reliant on instant communication. To get the best of both worlds, you really need to switch to a secure chat app.

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Encrypted Chat Apps

As the line between professional and social lives continues to blur, the need for secure chat apps is becoming critical.

While encrypted chat apps are certainly more secure than non-encrypted apps, encryption alone is hardly enough to protect your organization.

Many consumer chat apps encrypt messages in transit while storing them in a decrypted form on third party servers. This enables ease-of-use features like search, but it comes at the price of having your data vulnerable while at rest.

Many instant messaging providers today are adhering to end to end encryption, which is a safer use of public and private keys to encrypt data at both ends of communication. A message that is encrypted on the sender’s side and only decrypted on the receiver’s side will never be stored in an unencrypted state on any server. This is the least that chat app vendors can do in terms of keeping your communications private.

Ciphr End-to-End Encrypted Chat Is Like a Closed Room

There are several vital private communication features that only a secure chat app like Ciphr can offer.

Using Ciphr Secure Chat is like having a private conversation in a closed room. Imagine a meeting where every member in the room can hear what’s being said and see who says it. Nobody outside the room can either speak into the room or hear the communication inside. It’s an invite-only meeting, and any attempt to barge in is swiftly blocked by the security guards standing watch outside.

Ciphr is able to offer its users the highest level of protection by adhering to the highest standards of security and privacy.

Our proprietary PQ-ECC encryption protocol protects the confidentiality and integrity of users’ secret chat conversations. Post-quantum Elliptic Curve cryptography encrypts each individual message twice with advanced keys derived from ECC-448 and NTRU protocols. This makes Ciphr Chat one of the safest encrypted chat apps out there.

You Can Never Be Too Safe with Perfect Forward Secrecy

Unlike big names in the chat messaging arena, Ciphr uses perfect forward secrecy (PFS) to provide yet another layer of chat security.

PFS is a feature of specific key agreement protocols. It was created to ensure session keys remain secure even if the private key of the server is compromised. It works by generating a unique session key for every session a user initiates. In other words, for every message being sent and received, unique keys are generated automatically. This in turn changes the keys used to encrypt and decrypt the information each time.

The greatest advantage of PFS is that only a fragment of data is put at risk at any given moment. Only the information that was exchanged with that specific session key is affected, while all other data remains safe.

PFS represents a huge step forward in transport layer security (TLS). And if we’ve learned anything from the Heartbleed security bug, it’s that everyone using SSL/TLS should be looking to implement it.

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