Olvid, an instant messaging application made in France, is more secure than WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and others. Unlike competing apps, Olvid doesn’t claim access to your contact list and doesn’t ask for a phone number. In addition, the messaging does not store any information on servers.
Despite everything, the case has led many Internet users to desert WhatsApp to migrate to competing applications, including Signal or Telegram. As reported by our colleagues from RTL, there is however a French application much more secure than Signal or Telegram: Olvid. “WhatsApp and Signal don’t have the same commitment to data processing, but they operate on the same model. These are mobile applications that identify contacts by their phone number and connect them in a conversation using a central server ” underlines Gerome Billois, cybersecurity expert at Wavestone, interviewed by RTL. According to the expert, Signal is not that different from WhatsApp.
100% anonymous secure messaging
Developed by French cryptography researchers, Olvid offers features similar to WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. It is indeed possible to send messages, make calls or share videos and photos. To protect the data exchanged by its users, Olvid uses an encryption protocol that does not rely on the use of a global server.
“Olvid is the only means of communication that no longer rests the security of exchanges on servers ” Olvid explains on his website. The application creates a direct link between internet users and ignores trusted third parties, unlike other solutions on the market. In addition, Olvid is “The only messaging system to also encrypt metadata, thus guaranteeing the anonymity of interlocutors”.
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It is therefore strictly impossible to trace the identity of the participants. “No third party can identify the participants, not even the server” Olvid advances on his website. Moreover, Olvid does not ask no phone number nor access to the user’s contact directory. Just enter a first and last name to start using Olvid. Note that the service does not check the names provided by Internet users. De facto, you can therefore enter a pseudonym.
How WhatsApp works when it comes to security doesn’t make sense for Olvid
“At the heart of WhatsApp is a directory that covers all of the 2.5 billion phone numbers of users and acts as a trusted third party to link the secure channels of their phones. But when it comes to security and data protection, a trusted third party for 2.5 billion people, that doesn’t make sense. If it is hacked or malicious, you no longer have security ” tackle Thomas Baignères, co-founder of Olvid, at RTL. Unlike WhatsApp, Olvid does not rely on a directory that centralizes all phone numbers.
To get in touch with other Internet users, users must send a 4-digit PIN code. This code is directly generated in the application. Olvid encourages users to fill in the information during a face-to-face meeting for optimal security. However, the application also allows you to add a remote contact “With the same level of security as if you were face to face”. In this case, the messaging system makes it possible to transmit a link inviting the two interlocutors to exchange their respective codes. “The security of exchanges is based on the trust that users have in each other” explains Thomas Baignères. This “Key exchange on an authentic channel” replaces trusted third parties used by WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram.
More sophisticated than WhatsApp and the others, Olvid is mainly intended for businesses. However, the messaging system recorded an influx “monumental” new users since the announcement of the new WhatsApp terms of service. On the Play Store, the application has also passed the bar of 10,000 downloads.