Everything you need to know about Signal Messaging App with all tools, features, security, and end-to-end encryption compared with WhatsApp and Telegram.
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Let’s deep dive into all the information you need to know about Signal Messaging App and then decide if you want to switch from WhatsApp to Signal.
Table of Contents
1. Why the decline of WhatsApp Support
At the beginning of 2021, WhatsApp asked its 2 billion-plus users to agree to updated terms and conditions regarding sharing their personal information with Facebook. If users did not accept these terms and conditions, they would be banned from using WhatsApp.
Founder and CEO of Britain-based technology firm digital barriers, Zach Doffman confirmed that WhatsApp collected the most data compared to competitors like Telegram, IMessage, and Signal.
The mass message from WhatsApp informed users that some data would be shared to Facebook including IP address, mobile network, contact numbers, service providers, browser information, and even battery level.
It assured users that chats would remain encrypted, but users felt the assurance just wasn’t enough to look for more secure alternatives like Signal.
2. What is Signal ?
With all the drama and uncertainty surrounding WhatsApp, Signal has exploded in popularity. It became the most downloaded free app on Apple and Google, and with its tagline of “Say hello to Privacy” you can understand why I got a certain boost in popularity rating.
The encrypted messaging app was found in 2014 by Moxie Merlin spike, who lists his credentials as software engineer, hacker, sailor captain, and shipwright.
The app was developed by a non-profit, which will go into more detail later and doesn’t sell adverts or user data. Though, let’s have a look at the figures that revealed just how many people downloaded Signal.
3. How Many Downloads has Signal Gotten
You now know the reason why so many people are suddenly turning to signal. So how many people made that switch? According to cnbc.com, Signal had 7.5 million downloads between the 6th and 10th of January 2021. That was 43 times higher than the week before.
Telegram also had an exponential increase in downloads with 5.3 million in that same week. Signal wasn’t quite for the massive influx of new users and had installed new servers. As they tweeted, “We continue to shatter traffic records and add capacity as more and more people come to terms with how much they dislike Facebook’s new terms. If you weren’t able to create a new group recently, please try again new servers are ready to serve you “.
4. Who Owns Signal
We mentioned Moxie marlin’s spike a little earlier, but he’s not the only one who can take credit for the platform. Brian Acton found the company Signal Messenger LLC. Acton is a computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who also founded WhatsApp with Jan Comb. Signal Messenger LLC is owned by a nonprofit Corporation under the umbrella of Signal Technology Foundation.
5. Is Signal Really Safer than WhatsApp
The answer to this question is what is driving more and more people to download signal. In their own words on Twitter – “Signal is a cross-platform messaging app. Privacy isn’t an optional mode – it’s just the way Signal works. Every message, Every call, Every time“.
Look, that could just be lip service. So let’s what makes signal safer than WhatsApp. According to forbes.com – Signal is the safer option and here’s why.
Despite both WhatsApp and Telegram using an encryption protocol, the Signal differs in that it’s open-source. That means any security researchers can detect where there are any vulnerabilities. WhatsApp uses their own proprietary deployment, your content is safe with both as they used end-to-end encryption.
The security weaknesses in WhatsApp is the backup cloud where the chat history is stored. The app does not have this option.
6. What do Signal and Elon Musk have in Common
“Musk”. The man who was momentarily the richest man in the world is also a huge fan of Signal. On the 7th of January 2021, he tweeted a very detailed in-depth message about his thoughts regarding Signal he said “Use Signal “.
Funny story that many people took his words to the next level and bought Signal’s stocks. Except, as we mentioned already, they are nonprofits so you can’t buy shares.
What people bought instead was shares of Signal Advance. A company that manufactures various detection devices in the Medical field.
They certainly didn’t complain though, because prior to the misleading tweet, shares of Signal Advance had never gone above $0.60, but on January 7th, the stock closed at $3.76. On the 8th of January, it was $7.19, and then another day later pushed the closing price to $38.70 which’s the 6350% increase over three days.
Once the hype died down and the truth was revealed, it went back down to $12.00 a share, and at the time of writing this blog, it was at $5.55.
7. Which Chat Service Provider is Best to Use
Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp that is the Question.
As we’ve already concluded that Signal is by far the safest option. But if you’re not too bothered by our data or information being shared, then which is the best messaging platform to use?
Telegram sits somewhere between WhatsApp and Signal when it comes to privacy, but has a great social network-style environment. Another bonus for telegram is it has a 2 GB limit when sending attachments.
The downside to telegram is there alerted when anyone from your contact list joins the platform. It’s like they were so excited they need to advertise the fact that someone’s joined. WhatsApp, despite the current challenges they’re facing, is still the go-to choice for most people.
8. Who are Signal’s Biggest Supporters
Elon Musk, of course, but who else? Former WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton, and sure it’s because he’s one of the founders, but then there’s Edward Snowden. Remember him?
He’s the American whistleblower who leaked highly confidential information from the National Security Agency back in 2013 while working as a CIA employee. Another fan is Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey.
9. What Protects your Conversations on Signal
For a start, Signal offers end-to-end encryption. So what does that mean? It means that only those taking part in the conversation can read the messages. On the surface, it looks like any ordinary messaging app, and that’s what’s good about the app.
You don’t need to think about security and can be at ease knowing that what’s happening behind the scenes is all being done to protect you and the user. As we mentioned already, it stores nothing.
There are pros and cons to that, sure it’s great that there is nothing people can gain access to. But what if you lose your phone, you lose every conversation along with it. It’s not backed up like with WhatsApp.
10. What Features does Signal Have?
Besides being super secure, it has other features that also make you consider downloading the app. Like any messaging app, you can delete individual messages. However, the recipient will still have full access to the entire string of messages.
On Signal you can select the disappearing messages feature, which removed the messages automatically. You can also select the time period before the messages are deleted.
Currently, Signal has promised no adverts, but whether they can keep that up being an open sourced project is debatable. As it can be quite tough to monetize.
11. Does this High-end Security Open a Gateway for Criminal Activity
With all of these security features, surely it’ll make it easier for criminals to get away with illegal activity. The quick answer is “Yes“.
There has been a rise in criminals using the app to communicate and execute illegal activity With an app that encourages privacy, it’s the perfect portal to keep things discreet. Several current and former employees have voiced concern over the misuse of the platform.
During the black lives matter protests, Signal introduced a smudging tool to make the subjects of photographs anonymous.
12. Can Signal Handle the Sudden Influx of New Users
A Fox News article says, “No“. With headlines appearing on their site stating “Signal messaging service back up after outage caused by a surge in demand “.
Once their service was restored they quickly came online to announced “Signal is back, Like an underdog going through a training montage, we’ve learned a lot than yesterday and we did it together thanks to the millions of new signal users around the world for your patience and your capacity for understanding inspired us while we expanded our capacity “.
Despite being back online users were aware of error messages that cropped up while using the platform. It was quick to reassure users that it didn’t compromise their security and assured users it could continue sharing without insecurity.
13. What Bugs has Signal Already Encountered
Several messaging video apps encountered a bug that allegedly allowed attackers to spy on a user’s surroundings. Vulnerable apps included Signal, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, geo chat, and mocha triggering the bug was straightforward. All it took was a call placed to the target’s device.
In 2019, Apple encountered a bug in its group FaceTime feature. The bug was discovered by a high schooler, who realized the person initiating the group call could listen to the recipient’s surroundings. Even if the call wasn’t picked up.
The bug was fixed but google project zero researcher Natalie silvaovic investigated further and confirmed that Signal Messenger, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, Geo chat, and mocha all had the potential to encounter similar problems. However, all concerns have been reported and fixed.
14. How to Signal Make Money if it’s Owned by a Nonprofit
When looking at the figures, it’s hard to gauge exactly how much WhatsApp is worth. But it’s estimated that each user is worth about $4 to the company. So they could be valued in the region of $5 billion. Their revenue comes mainly from businesses using the service to connect with customers.
WhatsApp was bought by Facebook for $19 billion, and they’re there to make a profit. The signal is not for profit. With the intention of being there for the benefit of the user. However, they still need to pay their staff right.
They rely solely on donations to keep it up and running, and because the app is open-sourced, anybody can go in and point out gaps or holes and offer solutions at a hugely reduced rate.
The signal team is quite small. With the highest number of employees at any given time being seven, Brian Acton invested $50 million into the business, and with the sudden growth, we can expect more big donations that filter through.
15. So What Data does Signal Keep
“Nothing“. As plain and simple as that, Signal keeps nothing. Not even developers can access your account or the messages, media, or documents that you sent. It seems so far as living up to their motto of “Say hello to privacy“.
16. Can I Backup my Chats in Signal App
As you know, it stores nothing in the cloud. If you lose your phone, you lose all the chats. However, if you want to back up your conversations, it is doable. Just because everyone seems to migrate to Signal, you don’t need to worry that you can’t save your chats.
It’s a bit of a long-winded process, but if that chat is important for you, then you won’t mind doing it. Otherwise enjoy the app for what it strives to be – Private, Personal, and Risk-free.
So have you downloaded Signal yet? If so, what’s your experience with the app? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.