Sicher is a free Android, iPhone ($1) and Windows Mobile messaging up with end to end encryption and message self-destruction. It can be used to securely chat and exchange files in group or individually with anybody in your contact list. As usual in alike apps, Sicher will not work unless your friends also have it installed.
The company developing Sicher is based in Germany and they can’t gain access to your private encryption key, generation takes place in your mobile phone and never leaves it, in addition all Sicher servers are located in Germany and they do not store the data you send, after an encrypted message has been delivered it is automatically erased from the server.
To strengthen your security a self-destruction timer can be set with all messages or files you send, the lifetime of a message can be fixed from 30 minutes to up to 15 days. During the app set up you will be asked to enter a password used to encrypt data locally, this will block access to your account if your phone is lost or stolen, the company has no way to restore forgotten passwords, content will be lost if you forget about it. The app can be set to lock itself up after 15 minutes of inactivity, hourly or the more risky option of never asking for the password again while the phone is on, customize it to your security needs.
I liked that Sicher has not been developed nor has servers in the USA, where the government is known for issuing gagging orders to technology companies forcing them to install a backdoor in their communication services. Sicher developers should also get bonus points for not sending crash logs, spy agencies are known to collect Windows logs sent over the Internet to learn more about a target’s computer, no such privacy risk here, and there is no social network integration, Facebook and Twitter apps don’t have access to Sicher, two companies that all privacy apps should block. Another nice feature is the settings allowing you to route Sicher communications through a proxy to hide your mobile phone IP.
Besides the appalling app installation experience where I had to try multiple times before receiving the necessary SMS with a PIN code to activate the app, and besides Sicher’s freezing my screen when I finally entered the PIN number, forcing me to uninstall the app and reinstall again, security specs look fantastic.
I would be willing to use this app if they did not enforce mobile phone number registration with them prior use, the requirement strips away your anonymity and I don’t understand why this is necessary. Even if the company can’t see the encrypted data being sent, Sicher servers, and anybody wiretapping them, should be able to see computer IPs connection length with timestamp and amount of data being transferred, what it is known as metadata, a very useful source of information for spy agencies.
I trust that the developers will solve Sicher SMS registration problems, but as long as they insist that my mobile phone number must be registered with them, I will not use the app. If you don’t care about anonymity and all you long for is privacy, Sicher security far surpasses that of WhatsApp or Kik and it is preferable than those apps.