Thanks to WhatsApp’s acquisition by Facebook earlier this year, as well as Edward Snowden’s findings on how closely governments monitor citizens, a lot of people are trying to create a chat app solution free of privacy and security issues. One option is Stealth Messenger, an Android chat app that claims to be the most unbreakable in the world. It is created by Rockliffe Systems, a software company operating in the US, the UK, and Indonesia.
Stealth is a bit similar to WhatsApp in some aspects. Aside from being a chat app, it synchronizes the user ID with the user’s phone number, allowing you to add your friends from phone book. Stealth also encrypts messages so no one can intercept and read it. The messenger doesn’t save your messages in its servers either, so only individuals with the password can read the messages. It doesn’t have the kind of stickers you see in Line or KakaoTalk but Stealth does have some emoticons.
More secure than WhatsApp?
To make sure your chats are truly secured, Stealth puts in some additional security measures. It requires you to put in your password when you want to open the Stealth app (if it’s not in the app background). There is also an additional picture lock mechanism to make sure no one can snoop behind and read your messages. Until you fully unlock the app, Stealth will encrypt all the messages on the screen (pictured below).
Another feature Stealth has is a burn messages feature whereby the read messages will automatically delete themselves, similar to SnapChat or Line’s Hidden Chat feature. Also, Stealth disables the screenshot feature.
Alternative chat app for security
After launching the service on July 18th, Rockliffe CEO John Davies hopes that Stealth will become the industry standard for secure messaging. But how will it play out in Asian countries where users aren’t concerned about security and privacy? Stealth might find some challenges in convincing users to install another chat app on their smartphones.
Davies is betting that users will still find this app useful, especially for confidential chats. “We don’t expect users will switch, we expect they will still use the other apps for non-confidential discussions. As you know Indonesians love chat apps and typically run four or five products,” says Davies. He adds, “Looking beyond government snooping and Facebook privacy worries, we believe Stealth will appeal to the youth in Indonesia.”
Rockliffe itself is making most of its money from building secure mail servers for clients worldwide. The company has actually created another chat app in the past called Mangga Messenger to compete with BlackBerry Messenger in 2010, but it did not take off. They believe that security and privacy will become a bigger concern for all chat users in the coming years, which is why they have put in about a year working on Stealth.
Stealth is currently available on Android for no fees over the first year. However, the team will charge enterprises for additional features.
The team is currently developing Stealth’s iOS version as well as VoIP calling feature.