Why Everyone Should be Using Signal Instead of WhatsApp

Filed in Internet, Social Media by on January 13, 2021

Signal Protocols underpins WhatsApp encryption, but Facebook’s ubiquitous messaging service doesn’t hold candle to Signal itself. Over two billion people are WhatsApp users, making WhatsApp the most popular communication app in the world and a lot of people use it for messaging.

WhatsApp was brought by Facebook in 2014, it service popularised the use of end-to-end encryption in everyday communication, establishing it as it’s default for messaging in 2016.

For this to take place, it co-operated my Moxy MarlinSpike’s Open Whisper Systems to narrow the signal encrypted messaging protocol.

Google have used the protocol so also Microsoft, it is widely accepted to be the Gold standard in encrypted Communications.

Open whisper Systems exist as the signal messenger, LLC and it is the part of the Signal foundation. This have motivated the foundation to put more effort into its own app. The importance of Signal foundation’s Flagship signal app includes providing a fully-fledged and easy to use secure communication in it’s own right. This also have direct and group messaging as well as one to one audio and video chat, and there are very good reasons to opt for secure messaging’s cool original flavor over WhatsApp last year, EU commission advised its staff to do exactly chat.

The following are reasons why you should consider using Signal for your communication where privacy matters and why you should tell your friends about it too.

  1. Signal is open source

Every Signal’s source code is published for all to examine and use under an AGPlv3 license for the server and a GPlv3 license for clients. This shows that you can ascertain what’s going on inside it and also rely on the specialist expertise of people who review the code and know exactly what they are looking for.

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  1. Signal has less potential Vulnerabilities that are hidden.

WhatsApp on a larger platform is more inviting to malicious actors. More to that, it’s codebase is a proprietary enclosed box that is, it may take longer for dangerous Vulnerabilities to be detected. Signal has resolved a few of it own while WhatsApp and any other application can and eventually will suffer Vulnerabilities.

A particularly worrying example was a Vulnerability in WhatsApp’s VoIP stack, used by intelligence agencies to inject spyware in 2019. And WhatsApp’s closed source code (beyond it’s used of the open signal protocol) means that there are a lot of potential targets that remain unknown until they are exploited.

 

  1. Signal has respect for its users.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to use Signal is Facebook’s long-standing lack of respect for its users’ privacy. Facebook has an appalling history when it comes to data collection and handling, from the Cambridge Analytica affair to its practice of sharing data about users with phone manufacturers.

It’s already proved that it can’t be trusted with WhatsApp user data that should, under European law, have remained private. In 2017, European regulators took action against Facebook for sharing the WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with its Facebook social network for advertising purposes. Firmly in breach of data protection regulations, it was an opt-out rather than opt-in system. Facebook had previously claimed such a mechanism would never be implemented.

WhatsApp co-developer Brian Acton, who left Facebook in 2017 and went on to co-found the Signal Foundation with Marlinspike, has harshly criticized Facebook’s approach to privacy and revealed that Facebook coached him “to explain that it would be really difficult to merge or blend data between [WhatsApp and Facebook]” when giving information to EU regulators in 2014.

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Facebook’s desire to insert adverts and commercial messaging into WhatsApp and potentially compromise its security prompted Acton to leave Facebook early, sacrificing some $850 million in stock in the process. Acton’s fellow WhatsApp dev, Jan Koum, also walked out on Facebook following reported disputes with the company over its efforts to weaken encryption. Mark Zuckerberg has since publicly supported end-to-end encryption, saying it will also be added to its Messenger app.

Facebook was until recently still vacillating over plans to introduce adverts to WhatsApp, with the latest reports indicating that the plan has finally been scrapped. Although it’s not clear what will eventually happen to the service when Facebook merges WhatsApp with Instagram messaging and Messenger.

  1. Signal has more updated security features.

Signal has a slight border ranges of clients with a dedicated client for Linux desktop users likely to appeal to those in the security and data analysis fields while see directs them to it’s web app.

It is good to know that new security features come to Signal first. For instance, Signal has had disappearing messages which are automatically deleted after a specified period of time since four years ago but the features is still being tested with small numbers of WhatsApp users.

The other mainstream and beta signal features that WhatsApp users don’t have includes view once media messages, encrypted profiles or Imani to keyboard switch for Android to keep Gboard from sending your typing history back to Google and backups that don’t defaults to encrypted storage in Google drive or Apple iCloud.

  1. You can run your own Signal Server.
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Also another advantage of open source software is it’s ability for the user to play with it once you have the knowledge. You probably won’t want or need a Signal server of your own for either personal or business reasons. Signal is designed as a mass communication platform and isn’t really intended to scale down, it’s a pain to build and there are currently no containerised versions for easy deployment.

A technically minded can learn alot about how a system functions by building a test instance and poking it with a stock. It’s non-trivial but community guides are available to help users get a Signal Server up and running and some interestingly forks exists including VA decentralised messaging System.

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