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Skype has never been the most safe or secure communication protocol 3 Skype Security Issues and Threats You Should Know About 3 Skype Security Issues and Threats You Should Know About The world’s favourite voice over IP, text, voice and video chat system, Skype is one of those rare things, an app that has found a place in the hearts and minds of computer and smartphone... Read More , and after Microsoft took over in 2011, concerns over privacy began to pile up. Though Skype on mobile How To Use Skype On Android For Beginners How To Use Skype On Android For Beginners Want to learn how to use Skype on your Android device for voice and video calls? Look no further. Read More is easy to use, if you’re looking for a more secure app, you’ll want an open source alternative with encryption.

Plenty of desktop video chat Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 Of The Best Free Alternatives Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 Of The Best Free Alternatives Five years ago, if you would’ve asked me for recommendations on a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) program, there was only one program available: Skype. If for whatever reason you no longer want to use... Read More alternatives already exist and alternative VoIP services Goodbye, Skype: 4 Alternative VOIP Services You Can Record Calls With Goodbye, Skype: 4 Alternative VOIP Services You Can Record Calls With Can't record calls with Skype anymore? Recent changes that break support of third-party apps have left many users frustrated. Could now be the time to try an alternative VoIP call recording service? Read More aren’t that hard to find either, but pickings are slim when it comes to the mobile arena. Choosing the right messaging app will depend on what kind of communication you need.

Skype itself covers text chat, video chat, and VoIP. Finding a secure and open source alternative that does all three won’t be easy (though not impossible), but there are some good ones available if you only need one or two of them.

Tox

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Platforms: Android, iOS (also Windows, Mac, Linux)

As far as apps that claim “I can do everything Skype can do”, Tox is one of the closest to fulfilling that promise. This app has the big three forms — text chat, video chat, and VoIP calls — and a great interface that beats out Skype in some ways.

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Tox’s entire existence is in response to recent events that show just how interested the government is in knowing what we say online. Tox’s only agenda is to prioritize privacy for its users and promises to never compromise that mission. Maybe that will change in the future, but up until now, they’ve been faithful.

All of Tox’s communications are 100% free and strongly encrypted. There are no pestering ads nor are there any paid perks. What you see is what you get, and its open source license Open Source Software Licenses: Which Should You Use? Open Source Software Licenses: Which Should You Use? Did you know that not all open source licenses are the same? Read More even allows you to modify Tox to your liking.

Linphone

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Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone (also Windows, Mac, Linux)

Encrypted VoIP apps are the rarest of the three communication forms, which is why it’s great to have Linphone in the mix. It has wide availability across platforms, a neat interface that doesn’t get in the way, and proper security to keep your mind at ease.

Linphone supports audio and video calls on top of its text chatting. It can handle multiple calls (with pause, resume, and transfer) and it can merge multiple calls into a conference when necessary. The interface adapts to whether you’re on a smartphone or a tablet.

If you don’t like Tox for some reason, or even if you do like Tox, you should really give Linphone a try. It’s a strong contender to Skype with its complete feature set and encryption protocols.

Telegram

secure-skype-alternatives-telegram

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone (also Windows, Mac, Linux, Web)

Telegram is another strong alternative to Skype, and like the above apps, Telegram is completely free to use, has no ads, and no paid perks. The downside is that Telegram specializes in text chat and file sending. VoIP calls may be implemented in the future, but no guarantee on that yet.

Communication is between you and your Telegram contacts only and all messages are encrypted. For extra security, you can set certain messages to self-destruct after a given time. Sent files can be of any type, and media can be stored on Telegram’s cloud if needed.

Which brings us to the peculiar aspect of Telegram: it’s cloud-based. The service has several servers scattered around the world and these servers make it quick to deliver messages and keep devices in sync (if you’re using Telegram on multiple devices, that is).

Despite encrypted messaging, Telegram may give you pause given the potential risks of cloud storage 3 Tips To Stay Safe From The Dangers Of Cloud Computing 3 Tips To Stay Safe From The Dangers Of Cloud Computing Cloud computing is the big buzz these days and we have more choices available to us now than ever before. How many of us use Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Google Drive on a daily basis? How... Read More . As far as privacy, only use Telegram if you trust them to keep your data and information secure.

Surespot

Platforms: Android, iOS

Surespot markets itself as an encrypted messenger, and it’s quite good at that — but it’s not a full Skype replacement, so whether you end up switching to it or not will depend on what you were using Skype for.

Surespot can send one-off end-to-end messages in the form of text, image, or voice, and these messages are encrypted using a powerful algorithm (256-bit AES-GCM with 521-bit ECDH keys, if you’re curious about the technical aspect). Practically speaking, that means nobody but the intended recipient can decrypt or read your messages.

The lack of video chat and VoIP calls means that Surespot isn’t a forerunner in the race to replace Skype, but if you were only using Skype as an instant messenger anyway, Surespot would actually work quite well for you. It’s 100% free and has no ads.

ChatSecure

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Platforms: Android, iOS

ChatSecure is a secure and open source app that surpasses most other mobile messaging apps 5 Best Free Messaging Apps For Android 5 Best Free Messaging Apps For Android Need a free way to send messages to friends and family with your phone for free? Check out these apps. Read More when it comes to privacy.

It uses XMPP (formerly known as Jabber) but messages are made secure using Off-the-Record encryption. As such, you can use it to chat with anyone using a chat app built on XMPP, including Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Dukgo, and more.

ChatSecure is free, unlimited, and has no ads.

RedPhone

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Platforms: Android

Created by Open Whisper Systems, RedPhone is an Android-only app that facilitates encrypted phone calls using your actual phone number, but these calls are made over Wi-Fi (or data if Wi-Fi isn’t available) so your plan’s minutes aren’t affected.

Calls made with RedPhone are completely free to make, even if those calls are international or long distance. The caveat, however, is that calls can only be secure if both users are using RedPhone. This app has no ads or paid perks.

If you like RedPhone but want encrypted text messages as well, you can install TextSecure, a sister app from the same developer. In similar fashion, TextSecure uses your phone number to facilitate encrypted text, image, and video messages.

What’s Your Preferred Skype Alternative?

If you want a full replacement for Skype, your best bet is to go with Tox or Linphone. Both are great choices for an all-in-one solution. Telegram is great too if you’re willing to forego VoIP calls and video chat, and if the cloud-based nature of it doesn’t bother you.

Which one will you go with? Are there any other encrypted Skype alternatives that I missed? Or will you just stick with Skype anyway? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

  1. Sachin
    November 27, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Riot Messenger is great alternative. It gives you encryption by default. It is opensorce as well.

  2. Ivan
    October 31, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Slack & Zoom

  3. Ivan
    October 31, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Slack + Zoom

  4. Ivan
    October 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Slack + Zoom.us

  5. Dmitry
    October 29, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    hmm, where is Jitsi?

  6. J. Canfield
    July 6, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Signal by WhisperSystems is solid. Beautiful encryption process. Multi-platform; Android, iOS & Desktop (via Chrome Extension) .

    • Joel Lee
      July 13, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      It appears Signal is the successor to RedPhone, in which case, yes, it's a solid choice. Thanks J!

  7. GavinSpaceFace
    May 3, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Skype is and always has been encrypted

  8. Marchell
    April 15, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Actor messenger is a great alternative and it is fully opensource on github so I can be calm on any tricky activity of developers. It has voice messages, groups, channels, webapp, android and ios.

  9. Daniel
    January 30, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Tox address seems to be down
    I found it working on tox.chat

  10. Matt
    November 15, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    The Redphone entry in this article is a little outdated now. The app and TextSecure have merged into one app called Signal Private Messenger. Signal is also on iOS.

  11. David Fernández Piñas
    July 24, 2015 at 7:57 am

    My alternative to Skype is appear.in, web based.

  12. Joe Cook
    July 24, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Well it's not open source but it is built atop a lot of open source and supports all three and more. Sococo provides free meet up spaces at sococo.com.

  13. dd7a3bcc
    July 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    What about Threema?! Opposed to Telegram, its servers aren't scattered around the world -- they're located in Switzerland, where privacy laws are particularly strict. Also, its encryption (NaCl) is superior to Telegram's (which is self-made).

    • unknown
      January 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      it also is not for free

      • cataleap
        January 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        Nice. So Threema's encryption is EXACTLY the same as Tox? And Tox has VoIP and is free!

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