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How to Build Encrypted Chat Application?

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Electronic communications have changed the way we interact with each other. With the help of numerous apps, we can now communicate with other people from any corner of the world without costing a hole in your pocket. Gone are the days when you had to think before making international calls. With the advent of messenger apps, chatting & calling your friends has become simpler. 

Every chat app is built with a purpose, covering numerous goals. However, there exist some potential threats like the data being leaked, hacked, or cybersecurity. To build a highly secure app you should, an authentic encryption protocol should be used. End-to-end encryption has become a must in every chat application after the rising cases of cybercrime.

Chats can be found across several apps like chat, e-commerce, banking, healthcare, on-demand services & many other apps. The sensitive data can be stolen & used by hackers easily. Encryption helps in ensuring the data security & privacy of the user by making them unreadable for any other person except the user & the recipient. 

Take a simple look at how encryption works:

  • When two users start a conversation, this event creates two sets of keys.
  • The private key remains on the user’s device.
  • The public key is stored on the service provider’s server.
  • When a user X writes to user Y, the public key is used to encrypt the message. The message is then sent to the user via server and decrypted with a private key.
  • This process continues as long as the sender & the recipient exchange messages.

A reliable chat app has features including well documented cryptographic design, a code open to independent review, secure past communications if the keys are stolen, an independent security audit, communication encrypted in transit & no provider has access to the key the communication is encrypted with.

While building a chat application the functionality, back-end, database, storage server, messaging protocol, notification service, the platform come into force. Chat is the universal user interface (UI). The user interface should be clear, minimalist & familiar with the latest design trends.

Any chat application requires data transferring which involves client-server communication. You can either opt for messages going through a server through HTTPS protocol and are stored there or opt for authentication by a server while messages are sent from one client to the other, and are encrypted.

A secure chat application has features including:

  • Session level security (SLS), which generates a unique key for each session. Using SLS, the messages are exchanged within the app and the sessions can only be read by the sender 7 the recipient. 
  • Each message has a unique key.
  • The data stored on a device is encrypted by a separate key accessed from a PIN entered by the user. 
  • Offline messaging support so that if any of the participants in a chat is offline, the other can still send messages that will be stored and sent as soon as the recipient is online.

Popular chat apps like Whatsapp, Telegram, Viber, Signal, Facebook Messenger use encryption to function properly. The powerful encryption software built in the chat apps ensures the third party intercepting the message won’t be able to read them. The standard encryption method Secure Socket layer (SSL) avoids breaching of data.  

Though most of us do not share confidential data in messages, end-to-end encryption serves as an extra safety measure when we send any private information like usernames, passwords, payment details, etc. when it comes to your personal privacy, encrypted chat apps are the ones you should rely on.

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