Whatever you may think about Edward Snowden, he did open our eyes to the level of Government monitoring and tracking capabilities. If you're not comfortable with the government reading all your text messages, or you just want to improve your overall security, secure messaging is for you.
If you have nothing to hide, why bother with encrypting your text messages you may ask. There are several reasons. The first is that normal text messaging (SMS messaging) is not particularly secure. Your messages are sent using a store and forward scheme, so your messages may live on somewhere indefinitely. You never know how an old message could be used against you. Did you provide a password to a trusted person? Did you send a piece of personal information, or a private photo to someone? Could something you said once, ever be taken out of context as used against you in the future? These are all possibilities.
It turns out that the more people using secure messaging, the more secure it gets. So you using secure messaging, improves my security. And vice versa.
There are several different secure messenger apps available for both iOS and Android.
1. iMessage. Apple offers encrypted messages with lots of enhanced features. However, it only works between Apple devices. So once you start texting with someone with an Android device or a Windows PC, you lose the security.
2. WhatsApp. This is a secure messaging client that was purchased by Facebook. This is a good choice for security, but by default, the client will not warn you if someone in your contact list reinstalls the App, or installs it on another device. This could be a normal occurance, or it could be a sign of a breach of security.
3. Signal. From Open Whisper Systems. We recommend Signal here. On Android, it replaces the SMS Messaging app completely and sends encrypted whenever possible. On iOS it is a separate app that can only send messages between Signal users. There is also a plug-in that runs as a Google Chrome extension on your desktop or laptop. All messages sent by Signal are encrypted, and only the recipients can read them. Not even Open Whisper Systems can get at your messages. You can also set messages to automatically delete after a specified period of time.