Is ICQ New Safe? Find How Secure It Is
ICQ was the first and the most popular messenger program in the 1990s and the early 2000s, before its decay in 2010s. What's happened to ICQ, and why is it gaining popularity again right now? And what's more important, is ICQ safe, especially its newest versions? Let's figure it out together.
What happened to the good old ICQ?
Here's the ICQ Crash Course: in 1996, an Israeli company Mirabilis developed a computer program, ICQ ("I seek you.") It was one of the first messengers that worked over the Internet, and eventually, and before ICQ, people communicated mostly via emails. When the convenient chats of ICQ arrived, they proved to be an instant success.
Of course, the program's popularity meant other IT companies would try to create their messenger apps. So they did. Microsoft followed with its AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! did with the Yahoo! Messenger, but surprisingly, ICQ outlasted all its competitors and reached 100 million registered users by the spring of 2001.
The times went by, and internet technologies and trends developed fast. In the late 2000s, social networks, mostly Facebook, boomed. They had a friendlier user interface and provided a better experience. It became easier to connect with people via Facebook than via the ICQ's hard-to-remember ID numbers. Due to this, old-school messenger apps lost most of their users. In 2010 Russian company Digital Sky Technologies (known today as Mail.ru Group) bought ICQ and still develops it today.
Was the old ICQ anonymous? Well, not really. The texts lacked any encryption. If hackers had control over someone's internet network, they'd have access to all their ICQ messages. Also, many third-party developers created password crackers and trojan horses to get ahold of the people’s ICQ accounts.
What's ICQ New, and why's it popular again?
After Mail.ru Group bought ICQ, they rebranded the app into ICQ New — a modern messenger similar to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram. It works on all major mobile and desktop platforms. Users can text with friends, have a voice or video calls, create group chats, and do other things.
Is The New ICQ Safe?
To secure users’ communication, modern messengers use advanced encryption. Is ICQ New safe in terms of encryption? The app claims to have end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls, which means the caller's data is encrypted at their device and decrypted at the device of the person they're calling. ICQ New claims that even they cannot know about what the two people are talking about. Simultaneously, there's no end-to-end encryption for usual chats, which means that third parties can intercept them.
To the question of how is ICQ New safe, we have to look at the app's country of jurisdiction. As the program is now owned and controlled by Mail.ru Group, which has most of its servers located in Russia. Russian law requires all servers to keep logs and data of their Russian users in case there's an investigation or suspicion of terrorism.
Want to secure your chat messages from falling into the wrong hands? Here's how to do it with ClearVPN:
1. Install ClearVPN on your device (let's take macOS version as an example)
2. Open the app and go to All Shortcuts
3. Scroll down and activate the Safe Chats shortcut
4. Done! Your texts are safe and sound now👌
Should You Use ICQ New?
If you were the old ICQ user and now miss the good old days of the early Internet, you could give ICQ New a try. It still has those customizable status fields that most modern messengers miss and has its own API for creating chatbots. But if you're concerned about your personal data's privacy and security, use messengers that are more committed to it and have safer jurisdictions, like Signal.