Trying out Wire

Wire messaging app's official logo.

I’m always on the look out for a secure messaging app that is both user-friendly and not Facebook Messenger/WhatsApp.

I’ve been using Signal for a while, but it has some limitations. For one thing, it’s directly tied to my phone number. My account isn’t “portable” as a result, and it doesn’t work on platforms other than my phone. WhatsApp has a similar limitation, as well as being owned by Facebook which makes me skeptical that it’s really as secure as they claim.

Facebook Messenger, though certainly not a secure way of communicating, is nice in that it is cross-platform. It works on phones. It works on laptops. It doesn’t matter what operating system you use (there are native apps for both Android and iOS, and the PC version is browser-based, so it doesn’t matter what operating system your computer runs).

Wire shares the cross-platform nature of FB Messenger, but is secure by default. Phone calls are end-to-end encrypted. Text and images are encrypted between the device and Wire’s servers, rather than end-to-end. This is less than ideal, but it is a design choice the developers made to ensure messages can be accessed from multiple devices.

Best of all, though, since my biggest obstacle with trying to make my communications more secure is getting other people to use the same applications as I do, is that Wire is very user-friendly.

The user interface looks nice. It does group chat very well. And it’s easy to search for and find contacts.

It seems to hit a nice balance between being secure and being easy to use. Is it secure enough for activists or political organizers? Probably not. But for day-to-day communication that you want to keep private from data-harvesters or overly-broad data-mining conducted by law enforcement, it does the trick.

You can create a Wire account by downloading the appropriate mobile app or visiting their website. You can add me as a contact by searching for @adamsnider.

2 thoughts on “Trying out Wire

  1. End to end encrypted phone calls sounds nice, but I’m honestly kind of shocked to hear they don’t have end-to-end encrypted text. That makes the security on par with Facebook Messenger (unless you can run your own server, as with Jabber.) There’s nothing to say they won’t sell your data or provide easy access for the surveillance state.

    1. I was initially thinking that e2e encryption wasn’t possible if you have multi-device support, but that’s clearly not true given that, for example, WhatsApp has a browser app (Signal does too, if I recall correctly, though it doesn’t work very well). With that in mind, it is rather shocking.

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