By having more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store, Signal is on its way to compete with encrypted messaging giant ‘WhatsApp’.
There is no doubt that WhatsApp is mighty popular internationally but when it comes to security a few questions have been raised despite of fact that it uses end-to-end encryption protocol. Icing on the cake, WhatsApp’s acquirer Facebook is not very trustworthy. If we talk about privacy, Facebook’s track record has not been great.
For users who have privacy concerns, there is Signal Private Messenger out there. It is trustworthy and enabled with a few state-of-the-art security features.
Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike has created the app to make “Encrypted communication easy so that anyone can use it.” He also said that messenger is going through several changes and updates so that users can have ultimate messaging experience without putting their privacy on risk.
What is Signal Private Messenger all about?
Signal is an encrypted messenger developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the internet to send / receive messages which can include voice notes, files, videos and images. Through Signal Private Messenger, users can make one-to-one as well as one-to-many (group) voice and video calls.
Initially, Signal Messenger was used by those who have privacy concerns like privacy experts, cybersecurity nerds, and activists but now it is famous among common users as well.
Signal’s latest updates include an image / video disappearing after viewing feature, support for iPad and customizable stickers. Soon, Signal will be updated with a unique system for group messaging.
These days, developers at Signal Foundation are focusing on making Signal messenger user-friendly similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger without compromising with its security. However, adding a new feature in Signal is complicated because it may compromises with security. For example, “adding stickers to the Signal messaging app is not the same as adding the feature to any other messaging app. Keeping the privacy of users in mind, it uses ‘stickers packs’ that are encrypted with pack keys”.
It supports videos and images that delete after they have viewed whereas trial of storing users’ encrypted contact details on the cloud is going on.
Creator of Signal and co-founder of the Signal Foundation Moxie Marlinspike said “The major transition Signal has undergone is from a three-person small effort to something that is now a serious project with the capacity to do what is required to build software in the world today.”
A few features of Signal are not exactly privacy-conscious features but they are ‘enrichment features’ for those users who are more focused on usage than privacy.
Famous WhatsApp co-founder, an entrepreneur and a privacy activist, Brian Acton who left Facebook, joined the Signal Foundation as the executive chairman says, “This [Signal] is not just for hyperparanoid security researchers, but for the masses. This is something for everyone in the world”.
Signal’s group chat updates will allow group administrators to add and remove users from groups without letting Signal server know about that group member. This update is designed in partnership with Microsoft Research where an app uses ‘anonymous credentials’ for gatekeeping user entry into a group.
A new system in Signal known as ‘secure value recovery’ lets users to create an encrypted address book then stored on Signal’s servers. In this way, encrypted address book will be preserved and can be used at the time when user switches from one phone to the next. The entire data on Signal is encrypted and cannot be accessed by user’s mobile’s operating system.
Signal also offers self-destruct messages which can be applied to all chats. Even, users can set time for message disappearing.