Speed Reads

cyber security

If you want secure text-messaging, use an iPhone, suggests the Electronic Frontier Foundation

The EFF has a new "secure messaging scorecard," and while the digital privacy advocacy group explicitly says its scores "should not be read as endorsements of individual tools," there's a pretty clear winner among the popular name brands: Apple. The company's iMessage and FaceTime messaging apps aren't perfect, EFF says, but they're much more secure than Facebook Chat, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Google Chat/Hangouts, and AIM.

What sets Apple ahead of its mainstream competitors is that it encrypts its messages end-to-end, meaning that not even your carrier can read you iMessages. Apple also encrypts your old messages with a different key, so stored messages are secure even if someone discovers the current encryption key. Google and Facebook, on the other hand, only encrypt the messages while they're being sent, EFF says.

No company is invulnerable — on Wednesday, online security firm Palo Alto Networks said it has found a new form of malware, "WireLurker," that is infecting some Macs and iPhones/iPads, mostly in China. And if your messaging really needs to be private, EFF has higher-scoring tools like CryptoCat, TextSecure, and Silent Text. To see how your messaging app ranks, visit EFF.