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How to add extra encryption layer and face scans to protect your messages further by adjusting privacy settings on Signal

March 2, 2021

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SIGNAL IS INCREDIBLY SECURE & IT ISN’T JUST FOR SPIES AND WHISTLE-BLOWERS. 

You may have heard, Edward Snowden uses Signal. That fact alone usually makes people realize just how secure the app is. All messages are end-to-end encrypted. “But so what?” you might say. Other messaging apps use encryption too

And you’re right: some do. But others don’t. The major messaging apps that use encryption are Apple’s Messages and Facebook’s WhatsApp (which is built on Signal’s encryption, but Facebook mines other metadata about its users and with the Facebook’s upcoming privacy policy update Facebook can do anything it wants when a user communicates with a business. Users must assume that a message to a business is potentially open to all.

Signal private messenger does more than just encrypt your messages. It also hides virtually all of the metadata, including who sent the message. That means only the person who the message is being sent to can see who sent it to them. Signal has no way of telling who is sending you other Signal messages, nor does anyone else who intercepts a Signal message in transit. This is pretty much the most security you could ask for in a messaging app. And only Signal offers it. 

Signal is a messaging app that’s become popular for its security. Every message you send on Signal is protected with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no one can intercept it and breach your privacy.

 

But despite this encryption, if someone manages to get into your phone, they’ll be able to read all your Signal messages freely. That is, unless you enable some of Signal‘s more advanced privacy options.

Here’s how to adjust your privacy settings on Signal to better protect yourself, and beef up Signal‘s already substantial security.

How to adjust privacy settings on Signal 

Though most of Signal‘s privacy settings are the same on iOS and Android, there are a few settings unique to each operating system.

To get started, open Signal and tap your account avatar at the top-left of the screen. Then tap “Privacy.”

Here are the privacy options you should consider adjusting: 

  • Always Relay Calls. If you enable this option, all of your voice and video calls will be routed through Signal‘s server, disguising your IP address. This will apply to all your phone calls, incoming and outgoing. The downside of this choice is that it can reduce your call quality, sometimes substantially, so only do this if you genuinely need the added privacy.
  • Screen Lock. If you turn this on, Signal will require you to enter a passcode (or whatever biometric your phone uses, like fingerprint or facial scans) to unlock the app and see your messages.
  • Registration Lock. Turn this on to require a PIN when registering the app with a new phone, or reinstalling it on your existing phone. This can prevent someone from accessing your Signal account on a different device.
  • Enable Screen Security (iPhone only). Turn on this setting to prevent the app’s contents from appearing in the App Switcher – when flipping through apps, Signal will appear as a blank screen with the app logo.
  • Screen Security (Android only). Turn on this feature to prevent screenshots from being taken in the app. Note that this is only on your own phone – it doesn’t prevent or warn you if someone else takes a screenshot of your conversation in Signal on their own phone.
  • Incognito Keyboard (Android Only). Turn this option on to prevent what you’re typing from being sent to a third-party server. Many keyboards do this to offer auto-correct options or to personalize keyboard behavior, but there’s a risk that your data can be leaked.
  • After you’ve finished configuring your settings in the Privacy section, go back to the main Settings page, tap “Notifications,” then tap “Show.” Here you can choose how much detail about incoming messages is displayed in your notifications. You can choose to show everything (name and message), the sender’s name only, or nothing.

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