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Old 04-20-2016, 03:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BBM or Whatsapp?

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As the seasons turn I'm back in the decision mode. BBM or Whatsapp?

Whatsapp offers end to end encryption for short messages over the existing SMS system. How good that is I don't know. But, the claim is that it is fully secure, whatever that means.

BBM looks like the classic and apparently uses RIM servers. Since it doesn't ask for a password for each message and can be installed on different devices I'm not sure the reality of its' security. At least as good as classic?

Whichever, installation will be on Android, mainly Samsung, machines.

So, for security and convenience, with emphasis on security, which one?

Since I'm out of the business now you folks are way more current and knowledgeable.

Last edited by NoBox : 04-20-2016 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

Unless your doing top secret stuff both are fine in my opinion. What I put most of the thought into is what is everyone else using. If you're the only one on BBM then it's not very useful.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

Well, not many on either. Most folks still are wedded to whatever SMS/Visual SMS that came with their device. Many, especially in the places I go use Skype or its' equivalent.

So, not a social thing. Sensitive stuff among a restricted group.
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Old 04-24-2016, 05:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

The response to my question was underwhelming. Now I think I know why.

I installed both and have used them for a few days. Whatsapp is intuitive and usable on just about any device. The security method is clean and secure without a lot of fuss. On the other hand BBM has none of those attributes. I suppose the "stickers" and allied features might be fun for some folks.

So, BBM is gone and Whatsapp is the program of choice for all except really serious stuff where one-time pads are used.
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

- WhatsApp encryption: Smokescreen?

Site biased, of course. But that doesn't mean the issues and questions aren't valid.

Personally, I'd avoid WhatsApp period, for many of the reasons mentioned in that blog, but also it seems many users have device issues that end up being solved by removing WhatsApp.

And BBM to me is great. Maybe it's because I have been using BlackBerry since before there was BBM, but still I don't know how more simple and no fuss you could get. The content of your chat is secure enough for most users, and if isn't then you're foolish to think WhatsApp is. Plus with BBM I'm not giving my data to Facebook and Google.

But carry on. Use what meets your needs best.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

aiharkness , your right on the mark. Sadly most people don't understand the problems your post offers. The security lost by some Apps including DTEK by placing information on essentially public sites like Google and Facebook is in most cases unknown to users.
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

Where were you guys earlier? No matter.
I am not using BBM in a corporate server environment so my BBM is different than what you may be used to,

As for the blog. It appears to be a hatchet job based on something other than what is issued by WhatsApp.
According to WhatsApp their code is open source and available to anyone to check. The title to the page is: "WhatsApp Open Source"
Backup on the version I have backs up to a file on the device itself. As an Option I can select backup to Drive. I didn't.
There is an option on install regarding contacts. One option allows access to all contacts in the device's phone book. The other does not. If the user selects no access then each contact must be entered individually. Perfectly reasonable.
Metadata is a whole different issue. WhatsApp makes no claim about that. But, metadata is exceedingly difficult to prevent. Some folks think that accessing some kind of redirection or masking site helps. It does. But mainly for the target of the message.

As of this writing I have seen nothing that supports the assertions made by the blogger you cite.

On the other hand I found BBM to be awkward and difficult. Stickers and Channels? Come on!

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Old 04-25-2016, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

To each his own!

Blogs and internet posts should be looked at for information on the subject and the reader then determines if they want to do anything or not.

Just to make you feel good here's one.

Hillary states she will insure equal pay for women if elected ( but not before apparently)

Clinton Foundation
The foundations IRS form 990 reveals that nearly three times as many men as women occupy the executive suites at the Little Rock, Arkansas-based foundation.

On average, top male executives at the foundation earn $109,000 more than the top female executives with same positions in the C-suite.

Who to believe, her or the media?
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

I was here. I just didn't really have anything to say. Only I came upon that blog post in my feed and remembered this thread.

I led with acknowledgment that the blog is biased. I don't doubt it's a hatchet job. But even hatchet jobs have grains of truth.

When WhatsApp made its announcement, people came out of nowhere on the forums asking if BBM is secure and if it has end-to-end encryption when they are in fact clueless about security. Also sites were publishing "news" that was inaccurate the first time it was published years ago and no longer relevant today.

End-to-end encryption is fine, but it's one measure. The security of the content of your communication in transit is one thing, but what about the metadata? Do you take measures to prevent disclosure of your metadata? And what about the security of your data at rest on all of your devices as well as your data online? Someone more knowledgeable than me could go on and on and on. End-to-end encryption is one piece of the larger solution. (And I read that you get that. Just filling out the larger point.)

There is some truth in WhatsApp's marketing, and some truth at that fan site. The trick is knowing.

By the way, just curious, on those settings, what are the defaults? I wonder of the typical user who doesn't look at settings is going to share everything, or must the user be aware and know to turn off sharing?
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

By the way, my BlackBerry is a personal device. And not on BES. I'm using the stock out-of-the-box BBM. I've thought of trying BBM Protected just for giggles, but I don't see the point of it for me.

I don't really get much from Channels. I think it has great potential but BlackBerry use is so minuscule in the market that BBM Channels isn't going to go anywhere.

I do get a great deal from BBM Groups. I have contacts around the world and contacts in groups that I wouldn't have but for BBM and BBM Groups.

As I say, there is a great deal of personal preference that goes into this decision, as well as what peers are doing. I'm not going to say absolutely one is better than the other.

As with the smartphone I always say start by making a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves, and pick the smartphone that does all the must-haves and the most of the nice-to-haves. Your pick and my pick may be different, and neither is right or wrong, only the best for us.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

aiharkness-I agree,everyone needs to make as informed a choice as they can.

As for metadata, the question is who you are protecting the metadata from. If it is one of the various data carriers or a governmental agency the answer is simple. You can't. So, don't worry about it. There are various redirect sites that will help with specific commercial interests, but that is all.

Not a Whatsapp expert yet. But, when I installed it all default settings were to maintain all data on that device and to use only the phone contact list on that device. So, in my case, for example, I have multiple contact lists. Whatsapp only accesses the one associated with my phone. Backing up to Drive is an option that must be selected. That is the case for each of the devices individually. In essence Whatsapp is a more secure replacement for the usual texting app on a phone.

From what I read, earlier versions of Whatsapp had some security flaws and were closely associated with Facebook. In the current iteration the only association is corporate. Claims that somehow everything on Whatsapp is posted to Facebook are fraudulent. This is not a Cloud app as it comes out of the box, so to speak.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

tsac seems to think backing up to an off site location is bad. I assume from that tsac uses no Cloud apps. Most promise security and availability. But, a user has no real way to determine whether, or not those promises are being kept.

So, for relatively low level security a user could encrypt before uploading to the Cloud and then keep a local copy for when the Cloud copy is not available. But,for better security the "Cloud" would be internally owned, located, and managed.

Once the data is out of the door it is fair game to all who would like to see it for whatever reason.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

I understand, generally, maybe not with a smartphone, there are ways to obfuscate or disguise metadata--I'm struggling for the right word--and it works until someone finds a hole in the method or system. And there's a patch. And then another hole is found an exploited. And then you have to worry that there are holes that have been discovered and kept secret but are being exploited.

Still, the larger point is the metadata is practically just as useful as the content of the communication. If you start with the belief that you can't do anything with the metadata, then what more do you gain with strong encryption of the content?

To me, the purpose of end-to-end encryption for the content of the communication is to prevent the content being somewhere on the network in plain text. BBM meets that goal for me. I don't expect anything to be impenetrable to some new PhD candidate or some party with skill and resources. So, to me, BBM is good enough.

That is good to hear about the settings. Thanks for the information. Actually, I was surprised to learn the sharing is off by default. That is a good sign.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

Your right I use no cloud services. Reality is once any data leaves the cell , computer or any other device and transports on the "public" network it is free game for anyone including the government. The original reason for the security on BB phones was to keep as much of the data private as possible. company's and government knew that and used them.
And yes I use two phones on BES for the security I have to have for where I work. The third is for me and it does get tricky using 3 different phones.

Anyway BBM is still my choice.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

About cloud services, I wouldn't backup my BlackBerry to the cloud. I wouldn't backup my password keeper data to the cloud. I know I can backup password keeper to BlackBerry, and BlackBerry assurances sound good, but I don't do it. I backup to my computer and then backup the backup.

I do use cloud services for certain things, but with discretion.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

I agree and think your dealing with it in a very smart way. Most people don't and to me that's not good.
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Old 04-26-2016, 03:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

@NoBox What is your potential exposure if some of your contacts have the sharing or backup options turned on? The chats, your information they have in their address book? That it?
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

I accept that end to end encryption is valuable only for the content and not who I am interchanging with. That, in itself, is valuable. For example, I can send another party some financial information with a minimum risk it will be compromised. Much like when you do online banking or credit card purchasing. The parties involved are known but the critical details are not.

In military terms; interceptors know something is up, but not exactly what. That, alone, has value.

For total secrecy a person has to go to secured method and something like a one time pad that puts information into a predetermined template. That is about as secure as it gets for communications.

Exposure? Well, WhatsApp is only used for communications with certain people. Those people understand what we are doing and will not make the mistake of sending the same information via another channel. Then to all machines involved are encrypted. Mainly because we all travel and there is the danger of leaving a device in an airport, or having it stolen.

Lots of research on human behavior. One researcher who contracts commercially has said publicly that if she can identify who your friends are she can predict your reaction to almost any event or policy with an excess of 90% reliability. In another focus there is a reason for those market rewards cards. Over time the company can predict what you will do on a scary accurate level of reliability.

But, we get into something a lot more extensive than just an App. To me Public BBM is not very secure. It is better than posting on Facebook. But, that is about it. WhatsApp is pretty secure for delicate and financial data; probably about as secure as financial transactions. Of course a person could limit themselves to only cash or barter transactions and leave no trace. Amazing how many people have done that. I'm not one of them.

One last note: An individual has to be aware there is a war for ownership of their personal data. For many in government and major corporations they claim ownership, or at least access, for "your own good because we know more than you".
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:12 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

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Old 04-27-2016, 05:10 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: BBM or Whatsapp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBox View Post
I accept that end to end encryption is valuable only for the content and not who I am interchanging with. That, in itself, is valuable. For example, I can send another party some financial information with a minimum risk it will be compromised. Much like when you do online banking or credit card purchasing. The parties involved are known but the critical details are not.

In military terms; interceptors know something is up, but not exactly what. That, alone, has value.

For total secrecy a person has to go to secured method and something like a one time pad that puts information into a predetermined template. That is about as secure as it gets for communications.

Exposure? Well, WhatsApp is only used for communications with certain people. Those people understand what we are doing and will not make the mistake of sending the same information via another channel. Then to all machines involved are encrypted. Mainly because we all travel and there is the danger of leaving a device in an airport, or having it stolen.

Lots of research on human behavior. One researcher who contracts commercially has said publicly that if she can identify who your friends are she can predict your reaction to almost any event or policy with an excess of 90% reliability. In another focus there is a reason for those market rewards cards. Over time the company can predict what you will do on a scary accurate level of reliability.

But, we get into something a lot more extensive than just an App. To me Public BBM is not very secure. It is better than posting on Facebook. But, that is about it. WhatsApp is pretty secure for delicate and financial data; probably about as secure as financial transactions. Of course a person could limit themselves to only cash or barter transactions and leave no trace. Amazing how many people have done that. I'm not one of them.

One last note: An individual has to be aware there is a war for ownership of their personal data. For many in government and major corporations they claim ownership, or at least access, for "your own good because we know more than you".
You had me until that.
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