It is time to switch to a new end-to-end encrypted messaging app

Folks, now is the time to switch to a new end-to-end encrypted messaging app.  

Four years ago I recommended to you (blog article) that you should start using Whatsapp.  At the time, it was the best game in town.  But things have changed.  Whatsapp is now owned by Facebook.  I have trust issues with Facebook.  And there are several national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp.

Now I recommend Signal (Wikipedia article).  Signal is end-to-end encrypted, but instead of using proprietary software the source code of which only Facebook gets to see, it uses open-source software.  It uses PFS (perfect forward secrecy) meaning that when a session finishes, both ends discard the encryption key that got used.  This means that even if an eavesdropper were to decrypt some past message, the decryption solution would be of no help in decrypting any subsequent message.  I am interested to see that most of the national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp nonetheless permit passage of Signal traffic. See a Forbes magazine article entitled WhatsApp Soundly Beaten By Stunning New Alternative.

You can use your regular cellular telephone number as the identifier, which would be fine, or you could use a VOIP SMS number as the identifier, which I think is a better way to go, as I describe here.  But no matter how you set it up, I recommend discontinuing all of your other ways of messaging, and moving your messaging to Signal.

If you’d like to try messaging me with Signal, drop me a note at my email address with your Signal identifier telephone number and I will fire off a Signal message to you.

Have you tried Signal?  What do you think of it?  Please post a message below.

3 Replies to “It is time to switch to a new end-to-end encrypted messaging app”

  1. But isn’t Signal only end-to-end encrypted if both the sender and receiver are both using it? And beware that since Signal messages are encrypted, you may be unable to save your old messages if/when you change message apps or switch between Android and iOS smartphones. Though these major caveats may be somewhat obvious to some people, they’re barely mentioned if at all by Signal and other encrypted messaging apps (or by people who review and recommend them). Hope this info helps!

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