More and more people are expressing concern over using popular messaging apps such as Twitter, Instagram and even standard SMS services. They feel that these apps and services are not secure enough to ensure privacy. At the same time we’ve seen huge interest for the Signal app.
read more: Best Private Messaging Apps
The Signal app is free to download and was developed for individuals and groups to send encrypted text, image, audio and video messages. It can also be used for encrypted phone calls between Signal users to mobile users. Here’s a quick look at what this app is all about, and why there’s been a sudden surge of new users for it.
What is signal?
Signal is a communication app that supports messaging, voice and video calls, etc. It is completely cross-platform, free, open source, and features end-to-end encryption. This makes it a popular choice for users looking for advanced privacy and security.
The Signal app originated in 2010, when a company called Whisper Systems launched the first two Android apps: One was Text Secure, which encrypted text messages, and the other was Redphone, which did the same for voice calls. In 2011, the company was bought by Twitter and the apps were released as free open-source software.
Read WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal: Which Messaging App Should You Use?
In 2013, Moxie Marlinspike, one of the founders of Whisper Systems, left Twitter. He formed another startup, Open Whisper Systems, and continues to develop TextSecure and RedPhone. In 2014, it was announced that the company will merge two apps into one, with the new name Signal. In 2018, Brian Acton, co-founder of Marlinspike and WhatsApp, formed the non-profit Signal Foundation To continue development of the app, and to keep it free and open-source software.
Recently, there has been a huge jump in new downloads for Signal. Most people believe that this is due to changes in another popular encrypted messaging service, WhatsApp. In early January 2021, WhatsApp revealed that it would be changing ITS TERMS AND SERVICE AGREEMENT, adding that it will begin sending personal data to its parent company, Facebook. It will officially start sometime in 2021.
Obviously, many WhatsApp users do not like this upcoming change and have moved to other chat apps like Signal and Telegram.
Which platforms support the app?
available for signal iOS and Android equipment and also available for pc Running on Windows, macOS and Linux. The program is also open source, so developers are encouraged to create their own clients. You can download it on Android via the button below.
How does the Signal app work?
The app uses its own open-source Signal protocol to provide encrypted end-to-end communication between Signal users. This includes encrypted text, group chat, voice messages, photos and videos for iOS, Android and PC owners.
The Android version can also function as the phone’s SMS or MMS app, although those text messages will not be encrypted. The mobile version also supports encrypted voice and video calls. In October 2020, the Signal Foundation announced that it has officially added Voice and video calls for its PC and iPad apps Too.
read more: How to Encrypt Android Devices
The Signal app has also expanded its support for group chats. A group admin can be selected, who can add or remove people from the group. There’s also support for @nomination if you want to emphasize a specific person in a group chat. Group links can also be sent for anyone to join a Signal group.
In April 2021, Signal requested beta testers in the UK to check out A new mobile payment feature. As is the case with its messages, payments will be highly encrypted, using a network called mobilecoin, which also has its own currency, MOB. Beta users can send and receive payments from family and friends. It is currently not known when this new feature will be included in the main Signal app.
The makers of the app emphasize that not only are messages encrypted, but all the metadata of those messages is hidden as well. In other words, if you do a Signal chat with someone else, only the person who receives your messages will see it.
Also, since the development of the app is being funded by a non-profit corporation, there is no financial incentive to sell any of the data. There are no ads and the app will be free to download and use. Also, since it is open-source software, anyone can contribute to its development.
What do the experts think?
ledge reports That in February 2020, the European Commission sent a note to its staff members, stating that the Signal app was now a “recommended application for public instant messaging”. Twitter’s founder and CEO is Jack Dorsey huge signal supporter Too. During June 2020, Vowel reports That app was one of the top 10 most downloaded social apps on iOS, at the height of massive global Black Lives Matter protests.
read more: Android Privacy Guide
Even the armed forces of the United States use the app. military times reports that the 82nd Airborne Task Force Devil, which was deployed to the Middle East in January 2020, was asked to use the Signal app on their smartphones. One thing seems clear: the app becomes more popular as there are more concerns about privacy, or lack thereof, in the standard messaging app.
Is the Signal app secure?
Signal features end-to-end encryption for both messages and voice calls, making it a secure option for any user. WhatsApp and Telegram also feature encryption, but each has other security concerns that make them a little less attractive to the security-conscious.
WhatsApp, as mentioned earlier, is owned by Facebook. While the company has delayed the disastrous policy change on collecting user data until the end of this year, it is only a matter of time before WhatsApp is integrated into the Facebook ecosystem. And it will likely come with a loss of privacy and security features.
Signal has a smaller user base, but it is likely to be more secure than Telegram or WhatsApp.
The Telegram side addresses these concerns by being privately owned and funded by Russian tech-mogul Pavel Durov. Before you ask, no, he has nothing to do with the Russian government. Actually, he had fled the country and his company is currently in Dubai.
However, Telegram does not employ end-to-end encryption by default. To be more secure you need to switch on the “secret chat” feature. Telegram also relies more heavily on the cloud, which means it is more multi-device friendly but slightly less secure. Learn more about it here in our Telegram guide.
Ultimately, Signal is probably the safest and most secure chat app you can use. There’s a reason it’s used by everyone around the world, from journalists to US senators to protesters.
How many people use the app?
The Signal Foundation never disclosed how many daily or monthly users the app has. However, we know through the Google Play Store listing that the Android version of the app has been downloaded over 50 million times.
We also know that the Signal app got a significant number of users in early 2021, causing a temporary server failure. Still, it’s nowhere near as popular as heavy hitters like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Even other relatively specialized chat apps like Telegram have more users.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
questions: Are Signal calls encrypted?
a: Yes. If you make a voice or video call with the app and connect with someone who is using the app, those calls are fully encrypted, end-to-end.
questions: Can Signal be hacked?
a: Since messages have their metadata hidden, that should protect your Signal messages from being hacked. Even if someone could intercept the Signal message, they could not read it because the message is encrypted. In addition, hiding the metadata means that the location of the original message is also missing.
questions: Can the app make video calls?
a: The Android and iOS versions of the app can video call individuals, and the PC and iPad apps recently added the feature.
questions: Can Signal make group calls?
a: No, the app does not currently support this feature.
questions: Is Signal Free?
a: Yes, the app is free to use for all
questions: Was Signal banned?
a: The app is currently banned in Iran, and blocked but accessible in Egypt.
questions: Who is the owner of the app?
a: The Signal app is developed by Signal Messenger LLC, part of the non-profit organization Signal Foundation. It is chaired by Brian Acton, Moxie Marlinspike and Meredith Whitaker.