RIP AOL IM. TIME TO RETHINK COMMUNICATIONS

AOL announced today they are putting AOL Instant Messenger to rest on December 15, 2017. AOL IM had a great 20-year run. Although it started the genre, it never worked at keeping current with technology. Now that Verizon has acquired AOL/Yahoo, it is no longer seen as a viable product.

Which gives us a perfect opportunity to rethink our communications–be it instant messaging, voice, email, or video calling.

There are hundreds of communications tools available, each attempting to carve out their unique niche. As our communications often contain private or sensitive information, each of us should be aware of the security pros and cons of the communication option we are using.

In the case of almost all SMS, texting, or instant message apps, there is no privacy to the communication. Not only does the cellular provider see and record all messages, but the app developer may have access. And since there is poor or no encryption, criminals, government, business competitors, and the neighborhood cranks may all be listening.

There are a handful of apps that do provide necessary military-grade, point-to-point encryption. Our current favorite is Wire (https://www.wire.com).  The Wire solution offers everything that I look for:

  • Easy setup
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Point-to-point encryption (no cellular or internet provider in the middle)
  • Cross-platform (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and web browser)
  • Free
  • Automatic self-destruction of messages
  • Pull-back messages
  • Group messages

In addition, Wire also provides:

  • Encrypted voice calling
  • Encrypted video calling

No matter which instant messaging service you are currently using, I recommend trying Wire for the highest level of security and privacy for your communications.