Best secure mobile messaging apps - Ceerus

Ceerus is a new secure Android voice, video and messaging app from UK startup SQR Systems, one of a small group of mostly early-stage firms of that participated in the Cyber London accelerator, separately covered by Techworld. This makes the app sound immature but its origins go back to the company’s origins in 2010 as a University of Bristol research project funded by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Designed to secure voice and video as well as messaging, Ceerus is a step up in from some of the free apps looked here in that it can scale to departmental, enterprise, and government use and can cite a British defence giant as a trial customer. It costs £10 ($15) per month after a free trial period of one month has expired which implies a different level of development and support.

We encountered a hiccup getting it running on one of our test smartphones, a Nexus 5 running Android 6.0, so will have to report back when we’ve done full end-to-end testing.

Features: enrolment is more involved than for a free app because the user is setting up a fully account - a name and password (not easy to reset for the time being so don’t forget it) is required for each SIM/number. Key exchange uses the UK CESG-approved Mikey-Sakke scheme with compression applied to banish latency issues that have plagued encrypted real-time communications from mobile devices. An API is also available to allow integration of the underlying technology with third-party applications.

Security: undisclosed but includes end-to-end encryption with perfect forward secrecy

Pro: designed for business users, adds compression, handles video and voice as well as messaging

Con: aimed at businesses rather than individuals, no iOS version yet which could be an issue in mixed environments, not yet compatible with Android 6.0

Next: Pryvate