Is Signal Really Safe and Secure?

Whatsapp’s new update to its Terms of Use has been creating a lot of stir around the world. This was an expected move feared by many since the service was acquired by Facebook. Facebook has been imposing its user data collection on all its services aggressively in recent times. Oculus has been another platform that is highly disputed among privacy enthusiasts because it requires you to have a Facebook account to use the hardware. A recent tweet by Elon Musk seems to have presented users around the world with a new alternative for Whatsapp, and that is ‘Signal’. Let’s take a quick look at it.

What is Signal?

Signal is an instant messaging app just like Whatsapp with end to end encryption. What sets Signal apart is the fact that it does not have any telemetry or user data collection. Additionally, you get an encryption key for each video call which helps you verify if your call is private or vulnerable to prying eyes. While it’s similar to Whatsapp in terms of messaging and calling, it is completely different when it comes to Privacy-focused features.

Is Signal safe and secure?

Yes, Signal is completely safe to use and you should definitely make the switch if you are worried about your privacy. Signal is not a recent app, it was first introduced back in 2014 after Facebook acquired Whatsapp in February. The devs were aware of the risks posed by this acquisition and hence decided to fill the market with a much-needed privacy-focused instant messenger.

What makes Signal safe and secure?

A couple of things make Signal safer to use. The most important aspect being the way it has been created.

Signal is an open-source software which means that its code is readily available for anyone to check and verify, unlike Whatsapp. Additionally, the app is peer-reviewed before release and the devs earn their revenue solely based on donations from users. As their business model does not rely on selling private data or advertising, the app does not need to collect any data from its users. Moreover, the open-source nature of the app pushes devs to provide you with the latest features when it comes to privacy. Other features that make Signal safe have been listed below.

  • Open Source
  • Peer-Reviewed
  • The business model relies solely on donations
  • Scalable end to end encryption
  • No Ads
  • No Trackers
  • No background telemetry
  • Independent non-profit organization
  • Server Verification before each message/call

Perks of using Signal

While a great privacy-focused app, Signal also comes with all the modern-day bells and whistles of an instant messenger to make your transition as seamless as possible. Let’ take a look at some of the best features offered by Signal apart from privacy.

  • All Message metrics
  • Groups
  • QR code Group Invite support
  • Delete sent messages for everyone
  • @ Mention support
  • Adjustable Font size support
  • Dedicated Desktop client
  • Localization for most widely used languages
  • Mark as unread
  • Read Receipts
  • Multitasking hide to prevent showing message previews
  • Optimized for low bandwidth connections’
  • VOIP support
  • Video call support
  • Contacts syncing
  • Support for signup using a phone number
  • Dark Theme
  • Built-in Image Editor
  • Support for GIFs and Stickers

Drawbacks of using Signal

Like any other service currently available on the market, Signal has it’s few drawbacks holding it back from reaching the top position among modern-day instant messengers. Let’s take a quick look at them.

  • Forced Updates (To maintain privacy)
  • The desktop app needs to be synced with every update
  • No Timezone information
  • Minimal collection of chat stickers
  • UI lacks modern aesthetics (Though recent updates seem to be changing that)

Should you switch to Signal?

If you are worried about your privacy then you should definitely switch to Signal. It has been widely promoted by Edward Snowden himself, who was the whistleblower to reveal the FBI’s privacy incursion tools back in 2017. It is also a great alternative for Whatsapp users that do not wish to use the platform anymore due to the recent Terms of Use update by Facebook.

Additionally, if you are new to instant messaging then Signal seems to be the best way to go. As we move ahead in the 21st century and technology infuses with our lifestyles, the need for added privacy protection is going to take the front seat. Hence it’s a good idea to be prepared beforehand unless you really really require a specific feature that is only available on Whatsapp.

I hope you were able to learn everything you needed to know about Signal using this guide. If you have any more questions regarding Signal, feel free to ask them in the comments below. 

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