Signal Review

Signal app is an open source, secured messaging application which you could definitely trust. It is a tool that replaces the usual traditional regular SMS app that you might still have on your iPhone or Android.

If you use signal, the messages that you receive from other Signal users or the messages you send through signal is free as you send messages over the internet rather than your mobile balance. In addition to that, if you use Signal, all your messages will be protected by Signal’s powerful end to end encryption.

As for messages that you receive and send to non-Signal contacts, what Signal does is it makes sure that your non-signal contact messages go through your regular SMS text messaging. If this happens, take note that your messages will not be encrypted. With that said, we highly suggest for you to use Signal and invite your friends and family as well.

With Signal’s goal of replacing regular SMS messaging, Signal requires its new clients to register and to provide a valid cell phone number.

What Makes Signal Standout from the Rest?

What makes Signal amazing is it is transparent with its users. It ensures its users that it is fair and it is worth convincing your friends to use their services. Aside from being able to use their messaging features, through Signal, you could also enjoy their secured, encrypted video and voice call services. In short, Signal is an all-around mobile application. Though you might think that this app is solely for mobile devices; however, good news as this app also offers a desktop version .

Is Signal app an open source?

As mentioned above, yes, Signal is an open source software application. This means, the copyright holder has publicly released its source code. Meaning, they could audit the application independently which allows them to identify and spot bugs. Aside from that, security researchers could ensure that the application will not engage in something that they should not. As a matter of fact, in 2016, Signal had an independent audit and it has been found out that the app is cryptographically secure. All of these have been possible with the app being an open source.

If the source code is closed, there will be no way for independent audits nor for outsiders to understand what the app’s code is doing. Hence, if that is the case, it will be difficult to trust the app and to know whether your communication with your family and friends is safe and secured.

Is Signal app encrypted?

Yes, Signal app ensures its users that their messaging, voice and video call features are encrypted end-to-end. It ensures that all user messages are encrypted even before it sends the messages to the recipient. The only way for your message not to be encrypted is if the recipient allows the message to be decrypted. Though there is this option, Signal also offers another option of encrypting all your messages that the user has stored on his or her device. Hence, it is impossible for anyone to access your messages.

How secured is Signal messaging app?

Since Signal encrypts all its messaging features and functions, it means that this application is secured. In addition to that Signal integrates into its system the following:

  • – Double Ratchet algorithm
  • – Pre-keys
  • – X3DH, extended triple Diffie-Hellman key agreement security protocol

Aside from that it also uses the following functions:

  • – AES 256-bit
  • – HMAC-SHA 256-bit
  • – Curve25519

Extra Signal security features

Signal offers its users the option of locking notifications. It also allows its users to use its incognito keyboard. Incognito keyboard is like a regular keyboard but it is different from its standard keyboards in terms that it does not learn what the user types on it. Aside from that feature, Signal also could make messages disappear like the feature that Snapchat has. Furthermore, this app ensures that your contacts are verified when they sign up.

Problems with Signal app

One of the criticisms that this app has received is that in order for Signal to replace SMS messenger is they have to use real phone numbers to match with real contacts. This means, there is a legitimate privacy risk which some people see it as not acceptable. Though this is the case, Signal has made sure that it could mitigate this loophole by ensuring its users that they do not have the ability to see its user’s contacts. This means, no one could access your contact list aside from you.

Problem with Google Play Store

When Signal has been launched to the public, there has been no way for anyone to download the official application but only through Google Play Store. This has created a bit of concern for those who are huge on privacy since it has been rumored that Google has the ability to perform

deep low level surveillance on Android devices. Though Signal has been recommending and suggesting for all users to download the app through Google Play Store, they also have made downloading possible through .apk file and on their official website as well.

Does Signal app keep metadata?

The only information that Signal retains is the last date that user’s connection with the app and the time and date which the user registered with the service. With that in mind, take note that there are a lot of online services that has managed to incorporate Signal Protocol into their offers and this does not guarantee that they will also offer the tight privacy measure of their users.

Who funds Signal?

Signal is funded by its parent company, Whisper Systems. It also receives financial assistance from different agencies that are funded by the United States government. Though that is the case, keep in mind and take note that there are other open source platforms that are high profile that do the same thing. Some of them are following:

  • – The Guardian Projects with products such as ChatSecure and Orbot
  • – Tor Project
  • – LEAP
  • – GlobalLeaks

Even though this could pose a concern, it is still ensured that Signal is still one of the safest and most secured open source platform project.

Baseband processor

Every smartphone device, there is a baseband processor which is a closed source proprietary chip and it has been said that mobile providers could use it as a tool to bypass and circumvent all encryption technologies that apps use. It has also been said that there are hackers that could decrypt encryption. This piece of news is actually only a theory. As of today, there has been no evidence that a hacker or any third party have been able to do that.

Countries that have restricted and blocked Signal:

When Signal has been launched and has introduced domain fronting measures, which allows its users in restrictive countries to circumvent internet censorship, Egypt has decided to block it.

Countries that has enabled Domain Fronting measures:

  • – Oman
  • – Qatar
  • – Egypt
  • – UAE

With that said, users in the mentioned countries, even if the app has been blocked could still access Signal without any problems.

Unfortunately, in Iran, Signal is not accessible as of this moment and the Domain Fronting is still not available.

How to use Signal app

Once you have installed the app on your smartphone, the app will become your default SMS application. The same default setting of the user’s old messages and its history will also be imported. In addition to that, all of the user’s contact list will be used by Signal app as well. With that said, the app does not make any difference in terms of normal SMS messaging app functions. The differences that you will notice are, there is a notification that Signal will display a notification that says that you will need to invite your contacts to install and use Signal and its encryption security measures.

Apps that use Signal Protocol

  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Skype

With a lot of messaging applications that use Signal protocol says a lot about privacy. Signal has been able to produce a technology, tool, feature and function of encryption to millions of messaging apps who exchanges messages on a daily basis. Though there are some that has never cared about privacy, but for Signal this is a huge matter and huge contribution to the messaging app industry.

Take note that though there are a lot of third parties that use Signal Protocol, this does not mean that it is guaranteed that third party messaging applications are as safe as the official Signal app.

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