Because there's something other than VPN in life, I'll focus today on Cyphr. Maybe it doesn't ring a bell, and it's completely normal. Indeed, it's a new secure instant messaging from Golden Frog (the creator of VyprVPN). And it's free! Cyphr is in direct competition with other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. So what makes Cyphr special? Let’s review Cyphr in details now.
Cyphr, anonymous and reliable encrypted chat
First of all, I'm not trying to make you change your habits – although improving your privacy is always good. And I know how easy it is to communicate with distant friends and relatives. Indeed, there are several messaging apps available on the market, including WhatsApp, Viber, Line, WeChat or Facebook Messenger.
And most of the time, you don't really choose your messaging app, you just pick the same as your friends. Furthermore, different friends use different apps, so you generally use several messaging apps…
However, you should understand is that some of these apps are not secure. Therefore they can be monitored either by marketing companies or by government agencies to profile your behavior.
And it is not about having something to hide either. Privacy is a right and you should protect your data whether you have something to hide or not. Indeed, it can happen that you need to send sensitive data to a friend: Credit card details, account number etc. If these data are stored somewhere, then history tells us they may end up by mistake in the wrong hands.
Having said that, I just want to tell you that you can find some secure instant messaging apps, among them Cyphr. And when you need to send sensitive information, then you should use this kind of application.
There you have an anonymous instant messaging app that is totally FREE. No subscription, no membership, no hidden costs.
Wait a minute! You should always be cautious with free stuffs right? Like with free VPNs for example… Indeed, free software need a way to generate money to guarantee their sustainability. And if you don't pay for their service, then they get the money from somewhere else.
But it is not the case with Cyphr. Indeed, Golden Frog, famous for their security products (VyprVPN – read the review, VyprDNS, Chameleon protocol…), developed the encrypted chat. Furthermore, Golden Frog has shown a real interest to solve privacy issues in the past.
Summary sheet for Cyphr
|Encryption||Military 256 bit|
|Servers||Private, located in Switzerland|
|Supported devices||iOS, Android (Windows, Mac and Internet coming soon)|
The messaging app Cyphr in details
While I don't really like the color code of Cyphr, the Android client is simple to use. Indeed, it's not a geek app that is protected but complicated. And the designers have made a good job on it. The interface is user friendly and you can easily send attachments and photos to the conversation.
However, some modern and useful features are missing… I have two in mind: Knowing who's online and if the recipient read the message or not.
Cyphr uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is the best. And the service works like a mailbox that requires a public key for inserting mail and a private key for withdrawing mail.
Each user gets a unique key to sign their messages. The message is encrypted on the sender's device and decrypted on the device of the recipient. Therefore, only the people in the chat (sender and recipient) can read the messages. As a result, no third parties, not even Golden Frog, can decipher your messages.
As mentioned above, Golden Frog hosts their servers in Switzerland. And they managed themselves the data exchange. Therefore, no third party companies are involved.
There aren't that many settings available in the app. And none of them are technical (manage encryption, privacy level…).
You can manage:
- Media Settings: To automatically save the media you receive to your gallery
- Multi-device: To receive the messages on all your devices at once
- Screen Lock: To add a layer of local security with a password when you connect
As on their website, you can suggest changes and improvements to their team. And it is noteworthy that the developers are acting according to the needs of end users.
Logs & history
How does Cyphr fare on this? Obviously, a messaging app like this must store metadata somewhere to work. So there must be a risk there. No, there isn't. Because Golden Frog specifically designed their servers to store the minimal amount of data necessary:
- An encrypted copy of your message (which can't be decrypted by anyone else but the recipient)
- The time they received your message
- The recipient metadata of the message
Finally, when a recipient reads a message off the server, the copy of your message is deleted.
Cyphr is not the only anonymous instant messaging app, but it is definitely reliable and safe. If you need a secure instant messaging to send sensitive information, you can trust their service.
- Native app for iPhone and Android
- User friendly
- Missing recipient status (online, offline)
- Missing message status (read)
- Small community
- No calls/video calls