EFF releases 'secure messaging scorecard,' ranks Hangouts against competitors

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has issued security rankings for several popular communication platforms, including Apple's iMessage Google's Hangouts and Skype from Microsoft. Both iMessage and Apple's FaceTime were named as the best mass market options for secure messaging according to the EFF's criteria. These categories include message encryption in transit, independent code review, and proper documentation of security.

While Apple's applications met most of the requirements, the EFF took marks off both FaceTime and iMessage for their inability to verify contact identities, and the lack of independent code review for either. Skype, Hangouts, and BlackBerry Messenger were all found to be lacking in several key areas, including the security of past communications, and the documentation of the security design.

Many audited services, including Apple's own email service, were found to lack end-to-end encryption. This is also an issue with services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Secret.

What do you think of the EFF's report? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.

Source: EFF (1), (2)

27 Comments
  • My thoughts are that I am not surprised that all of the services were lacking. Few people would use a service that required something like a social security number (or whatever) to verify you as the real person. I also am not surprised none of the companies would allow their code to be looked at for review. Finally, I am not surprised Apple ranked higher than Google. Apple is very refined. Google is like the cool kid that just skates by.
  • Google usually is well before apple security wise ( 2 step was a few years before apple etc).. So I wouldn't say "surprised" Posted via the Android Central App
  • Soooo..I guess Google should buy Cryptochat and Chat Secure. HAHAHAAA! Whew! That was funny! infoGoogle would NEVER do that. What I don't like is that HOuts is the same as FBook. Posted via Nexu...LOOKOUT! ZOMBIE SQUIRRELS!
  • Dude... can I have what you're having?
  • How do you manage to see to type that nonsense with your head so far up your ass?
  • Phil contacts Jerry more than his wife. #bromance :)
  • LOL Posted via the Android Central App
  • Jealous 'cause you want in on that action.
  • You figured me out. :(  Just don't tell my wife. LOL.
  • LOL
  • Are these supposed to be secure? I've always assumed not. This message brought to you via the sarcasm keyboard available for download at the Google Play Store.
  • Agreed.  I never assume any of these messaging options was truly secure/encrypted.  But I think this is more to evaluate the base level of security that exists in anything which requires a password.
  • So true. Whenever I need to say something important I call or wait till I see that person face to face. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're IMing someone, IM is not a secure system and very few claim to be (looking at you BBM with your low score).
    If you're worried about security, you shouldn't be IMing. Period.
  • Its good to see someone reporting on this, it will make everyone lift their game and give us more security at the end of the day.
  • Not surprised. I didn't trust any of the free services to be secure, not even BBM. Posted via Android Central App
  • I love android but I have to say that BBM is the best, most reliable and fastest messenger I've used. I currently deleted it though for the Lack of video chat cross platform, something that was promised long ago. I use hangouts because it bundles Im, sms and voice. However, it has a long way to go. Too many times messages were late then delivered all at once or not at all. Google has the money they should just scoop up BBM or BlackBerry all together. I still wouldn't mind trying out the classic or the passport but honestly I'd much rather have one of the new Motorola power houses as my new daily. Next-us
  • I think that all these platforms are going to get more secure shortly do to consumer demand. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Consumers are clueless if you see the number of open Facebook profiles. It's the media drumming and VC pumping that will get them on the security bandwagon.
  • The last thing that I expected on Hangouts is privacy. I use other apps for anything I'd rather not have easily recorded. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hangouts has an off-the-record button. Privacy and security are two different things. One can guarantee the other.
  • I LOLed that imessage and Facetime are referred to as "mass market options". They're only available on a miniscule share of smart phones. I wouldn't call that mass market.
  • I am not surprised. Hangouts, as an app, seems to be made by a bunch of monkeys at Google: development cycle is painfully slow, testing is shoddy if not non-existent, design and features are sorely lacking, code quality is shit and even promised capabilities are below expectation and delayed as hell. It's a project that seems to be run with no insight, vision or direction. There is massive potential but most of it is always lost.
  • Psst.... telegram
  • I see that hangout is on par with any other popular service, what alarmed me was how insecure snapchat is..
  • Sooo, no:
    Bleep https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
    End-to-End encryption, no intermediary servers, encrypted locally, incognito signup
    ?
  • Developer from Subrosa here, we've designed Subrosa to be easy to use for everyone while not compromising on security. We're working on forward secrecy to get 7/7 :) If you're looking for an encrypted messaging app where no one (not even us) can snoop, try Subrosa! https://subrosa.io - we're open source too.