Signal

Moxie Marlinspike   |   Instant Messaging

When we talk about instant messaging, we know that the best known are Whatsapp and Telegram. But, if you are looking for security and privacy, Signal is definitely the best option on the market.

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Signal is an instant messaging service very popular to use by users who require privacy. This privacy makes it impossible that other person intercept your communications, as can happen in Telegram or WhatsApp.

Previously, Signal was known as TextSecure, which only offered instant messaging. But, with the new name, they included the option to make calls and moved to a WebRTC system, which allows video calls.

Like WhatsApp and Telegram, you can archive and delete conversations you have with other people from Signal. You can also perform searches, view the files you have sent, mute notifications and block unwanted contacts.

In case you don’t want the read check option, like other applications, you can deactivate that option. Also, Signal asks you for a PIN or code to access your account, which gives users more security.

Characteristic

What makes Signal different from other instant messaging applications is the encryption it has, called Open Whispers Systems. This means that when messages and calls leave your phone, they are encrypted and can only be read when they get to the receiver. So, if they are intercepted, they can’ t be deciphered and privacy will be maintained.

Another characteristic of Signal is that it is open source and the Signal code for Android, iOS and PC is uploaded to Github. This means that the functionality of the application is transparent and any technology developer can improve the system if they get bugs.

This characteristic gives the application more security and creates a group of developers who can help Signal continue to improve.

Also, Signal allows you to configure messages to self-destruct after being sent. You will be able to delete messages from 5 seconds to a week after being sent and provide security in communications.

If you are in an unsafe place and don’t want Signal to keep open, you have the option of automatic blocking. You configure your account to lock Signal after a specific time that you set and you will only be able to activate it with a password. This password can be PIN, fingerprint or facial recognition.

Between November and February 2020, the Signal company developed the app for iPads, created the option to watch videos only once, reactions and stickers. Also, they announced that they would soon create the option to send group messages and an encryption that would work with the cloud.

How Signal work?

The Signal application is designed in the same way as other instant messengers like Telegram or WhatsApp in order to be easy to use.

Once you install the application, you must accept the licenses to allow the app to access your contacts and send you notifications. Then, you enter your phone number, create your profile and your name for other users to identify you. This part is just like any other instant messaging application.

Now, the application will ask you for a password to encrypt your account and prevent others from accessing it. In addition, this PIN gives you the security that if you log in from another device, your information will be protected by that PIN.

The rest of how Signal works is the same as what we know from other applications. It will detect contacts that also have Signal, you can send voice messages, send photos, contacts, locations, gifs and audios. Actually, a very useful feature in some cases is that you can blur the face of the photos you want to send.

Like WhatsApp, it has a desktop version that requires the phone application to be available to work. To access Singal Web, go to the official Sginal.org page, where you will be asked to download an app.  After installing the application, the installation will give you some instructions to follow.

Then, once the app is installed, it will ask you for a QR code which you will need to scan with the Signal app on your phone. Just like WhatsApp, once you have scanned the QR code, you will be able to use Signal on your computer.