Due to its high level of data security, Signal App is a popular alternative to WhatsApp. Read here how exactly the Signal Foundation, the company behind the messenger, protects your data and strives to keep it private.
How much security Signal offers
- Signal offers end-to-end encryption. This has now also been adopted by WhatsApp and Facebook.
- Since Signal, as a non-profit foundation, does not have to be profitable, your data is neither collected nor sold. The focus is not on making money; the foundation is financed solely through donations.
- Only necessary data is used for processing. This includes your phone number and your contact details. The latter only if you give authorization to use it.
- Moreover, you can use a pseudonym in Signal, so you do not have to enter your first and last name to confirm your phone number. Even an emoji is already sufficient.
- Other technical data stored on Signal’s servers are randomly generated authentication tokens, keys and push tokens. These are required for call setup and message transfer. Thus, there is no direct connection between you and your data.
- In addition, the source code of Signal is open source, i.e. freely accessible. Anyone can see how Signal works. This rules out secret backdoors that collect data.
- The messenger is available for iOS and Android. There is also a desktop app.
Signal App offers security through encryption
- In addition to messages, calls are also encrypted end-to-end and cannot be listened to or recorded by third parties.
- This includes video and audio calls and, since the end of 2020, also group conferences with up to five participants.
- The topic of encrypted group conferences is being steadily expanded, and more than five participants are entirely possible.
How your data and messages are handled
- Using Signal you have the option to send “Disappearing messages”. This is a type of messages for which a timer is set. After the timer expires, the message can no longer be viewed because it is deleted.
- Message histories are not stored on Signal’s servers, but directly on your device. Thus, you are protected from the access of third parties.
- This is a particularly important point, because even with supposedly secure messengers like Telegram, your data ends up on servers. In this case, not even the location of the servers is known.
- Files that you send are also encrypted and can only be viewed by you and the recipient. This is also not standard for all messengers. Encryption sometimes has to be activated manually, but with Signal it is automatically enabled.
Other reasons that speak for Signal App
There are a few other facts that speak for Signal.
- For example, Brian Acton, then WhatsApp co-founder, invested around 41 million euros in Signal to make the app more user-friendly.
- Politicians are also advised to use the tap-proof messenger service Signal. The European Union has advised its employees to use Signal instead of WhatsApp or other messengers.
- Edward Snowden is also a great advocate for Signal. When asked whether we can really trust Signal, the whistleblower responded on Twitter: “I use it every day and I’m still not dead.”
Differences between WhatsApp and Signal App
So far, WhatsApp is still the most popular messenger service. However, it often comes under criticism due to privacy issues. As a result, many alternative messengers – Signal among them – have gained popularity.
- Unlike WhatsApp, Signal does not store messages on servers, but directly on your device.
- Moreover, Signal does not collect any other data like location or status messages.
- In comparison, WhatsApp messages are stored unencrypted on servers as a backup and could therefore be read by third parties.
- The data is, for example, passed on to advertising partners for analysis. This does not happen with Signal.
My name is Sandra Sporer. I’m a 27-year-old English Literature student with an interest in gaming, art, books (of course), cinema and history. My love for writing sparked my interest in journalism and I completed a one-year-internship at my local newspaper right after school. From 2018 onward I have been writing articles for CHIP, Focus, How2ForU and other websites.