EFF Declares iMessage And FaceTime Are Best, Most Secure Popular Messaging Apps, Skype Not So Much

Just how secure is your favorite chat app? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found out and is sharing the results of its research as part of its battle against NSA surveillance. As you’d probably expect, it has some complaints about the security of certain mainstream chat programs, but there are a few surprises on the EFF’s Secure Messaging Scorecard. 

The EFF Secure Messaging Scorecard suggests that Skype is not as secure as certain competing communications apps, such as iMessage and FaceTime.
A portion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Secure Messaging Scorecard. Image Credit: EFF

For one thing, Skype received poor marks, garnering only two positives (out of a possible seven). The video chat service encrypts communications during transit and doesn’t have a way to monitor the content of your chats, according to the EFF. But the digital rights organization takes umbrage with Skype in other areas of security that it deems important, including documentation of the security design, code auditing, and protection for your past conversations should someone steal the keys necessary for decryption. AIM, BlackBerry Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger fared even worse on the EFF’s scorecard.

Many of the winners on the Secure Messaging Scorecard are lesser-known chat apps, like Cryptocat, SilentPhone, and TextSecure, but a couple mainstream services snagged high marks: Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime. Apple’s not one to share its code for independent review, so it didn’t pick up that category, but it nailed nearly all of the others for both services, put it well ahead of Facebook Chat and Google Hangouts. You can check out the scorecard here.