Telegram vs WhatsApp – Which is More Secure?
By Nick Anderson 5 minutes
There was a time when mobile phones were straightforward devices with limited functionality. The calling and messaging app that came default were the only ways you could reach out to someone. Then, smartphones came along, and with them, began the proliferation in apps that continues to this day. WhatsApp and Telegram are two examples of how core applications have evolved; they now also include the functionality of voice calls over the internet.
With the advent of the digital age, concerns over privacy and security have also run in parallel. The more services try to offer to users, the bigger the concern there is over data collection. We’ll be comparing WhatsApp and Telegram to see which one offers the best privacy for you.
How WhatsApp and Telegram Keep Your Chats Private
WhatsApp and Telegram take several steps to ensure the privacy and security of your messages; one of them is through encryption.
Encryption is everything that’s stopping a third-party from intercepting your messages. It is a process that takes data and applies complex maths to convert it into an unreadable format. If you were to read an encrypted message, it would appear as complete gibberish. It’s because the contents of the message have been scrambled, so that only the recipient can read it. A secure key is used by the recipient to decrypt the message. It is known as end-to-end encryption; the services don’t read the messages.
The power of encryption is used by FastestVPN to secure internet traffic. We use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to provide the highest level of security while you surf the web anonymously. It prevents a third-party on an unsecure network like public Wi-Fi hotspots to intercept data and steal sensitive information. The same is true for WhatsApp and Telegram apps that ensure your conversations are private.
WhatsApp vs Telegram – Which One Should You Trust?
While end-to-end encryption provides a sense of security, things may not be so optimistic when you take a holistic view of things that make up a service. WhatsApp came into existence in 2009 and was developed by two ex-Yahoo employees. As it continued to rose to popularity, it was acquired by social media giant Facebook in 2014.
It was Facebook’s way of branching out of Facebook and combine several other platforms under its umbrella. Instagram, for example, is also a part of it. Facebook’s reputation has taken several hits over the past couple of years as the social media giant has been a victim of a major scandal and distrust.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that a third-party app mined information of millions of Facebook users. The firm was accused of aiding and intervening in the US Presidential Election of 2015. The data obtained from the social media platform was analyzed and profiled for targeted messages. Although Facebook claims that data is not harvested from WhatsApp for cross-platform advertisement, the general sentiment puts Facebook in a less trustable position.
On the other hand, we have Telegram, which has a relatively better reputation—started by two brothers named Nikoli and Pavel Durov. It is now owned and run by Mail.ru Group. It has a userbase of 400 million users compared to WhatsApp’s 2 billion users. However, it takes privacy a bit more seriously, as evident by some key features that are not available on the rival messaging service.
For starters, Telegram allows you to start secret chats that not only use end-to-end encryption but force the messages to self-destruct and use your device for storage. It also prevents anyone from forwarding the messages. Secret chats are based on client-client encryption, which is different and more secure than normal chats that use client-server encryption. The former ensures that only the correct recipient can decrypt the message and not even Telegram knows the secret key.
Moreover, Telegram alerts you whenever someone takes a screenshot of conservation. It, however, does not cover the obvious loophole that someone could film the conversation with a camera.
But all that is what the marketing team would have you believe. As always, you must always keep exploring. Security experts claim that Telegram is not as secure the messaging service wants you to believe. Some argue that because Telegram uses its encryption protocol that’s not near as vetted as the mainstream protocols adopted by WhatsApp, it falls short on its promise of being the most secure messaging app.
As a matter of fact, chats on Telegram are not end-to-end encrypted by default like WhatsApp, which is something not most people are aware of. Telegram has also been observed to leak metadata of users. Metadata refers to data about data. Because of metadata, a third-party can see what the user appeared online and went offline. However, Telegram has been several improvements since these revelations came to light.
It’s hard to pick either as the winner for the most secure messaging app. Both WhatsApp and Telegram have their pros and cons, and picking one over the other does not guarantee complete privacy. Fundamentally, both use encryption to safeguard communication, but it comes down to the handling of the data and whether the data is stored on the servers – and in an unencrypted form.
Encryption is what we emphasize at FastestVPN. As one of the core features, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to make internet communication safe and private.