With the rise of the surveillance state and the lax security of the current generation of cellular systems, nobody can guarantee the privacy of your mobile transmissions anymore. Because of that, I’ve been on the lookout for a way to send encrypted text messages to friends. I tried a few of the top results in the Play Store like Crypt Haze, but I wasn’t pleased with what I found. Most of them require extra steps to encrypt and send a message. I gave up on finding a ready made solution and started hunting for an open source SMS App to build an encryption system on top of. I could only find one open source SMS app and it happened to be exactly the app I wanted, TextSecure.
It’s tagline is the app in a nutshell, “Security, Simplified.” When you first start up the app it prompts you to enter a passkey and then asks if you’d like to import all your existing messages. I suggest clicking yes as TextSecure not only encrypts your messages over the wire, but also encrypts all the messages stored on your device. After that you can use it as you would use any other messaging app, when you want to start a secure conversation with a friend who has the app you just click the little lock icon in the thread and it prompts them. Once they accept, keys are exchanged and your conversation is now encrypted. All the work is done in the background so what you see on each end looks like a normal text, but what’s transmitted appears to be a garbled mess for anyone who would intercept it.
TextSecure is perfect for anyone who wants encrypted messaging but, it lacks the frills you’d find in most popular SMS apps. I personally prefer the no nonsense functionality and simple security. It also attempts to emulate the stock ICS app which was my preference before TextSecure.