So in this article, we will be covering Whatsapp alternative Signal which is an open-source and fully encrypted messaging client.
Why select Signal?
The signal messaging app is safer and more secure than most messengers because of a process called “end-to-end encryption.” This works by encoding a sender’s message in such a way that only the intended receiver’s device can unlock it.
Signal Messaging App has more up-to-date security features
New security features come to Signal first. For example, Signal has had disappearing messages – which are automatically deleted after a specified period of time – since 2016 but the feature is still being tested with small numbers of WhatsApp users.
Other mainstream and beta Signal features that WhatsApp users don’t have include view-once media messages, encrypted profiles, an incognito keyboard switch for Android to keep Gboard from sending your typing history back to Google (oh yeah that’s a thing!), and backups that don’t default to unencrypted storage in Google Drive or Apple iCloud.
Signal also has a slightly broader range of clients, with a dedicated client for Linux desktop users – likely to appeal to those in the security and data analysis fields, while WhatsApp directs them to its web app.
The signal App is open source
All of Signal’s source code is published for anyone to examine and use under a GPLv3 license for clients and an AGPLv3 license for the server. This means that you can see what’s going on inside it – or, more usefully, rely on the specialist expertise of people who review the code and know exactly what they’re looking for.
Signal has less potential for hidden vulnerabilities
As a larger platform, WhatsApp is more inviting to malicious actors to start with, but the fact that its codebase is a proprietary closed box means that it may take longer for dangerous vulnerabilities to be detected. Any application can and eventually will suffer vulnerabilities – Signal has resolved a few of its own.
But WhatsApp’s closed-source code (beyond its use of the open Signal protocol) means that there are a lot of potential targets that remain unknown until they’re exploited. A particularly worrying example was a vulnerability in WhatsApp’s VoIP stack.
You can run your own Signal server (but probably shouldn’t)
Another advantage of open-source software is that you can play with it if you’re that way inclined. You probably won’t want or need a Signal server of your own for either personal or business reasons. It’s designed as a mass communications platform and isn’t really intended to scale down, it’s a pain to build and there are currently no containerized versions for easy deployment.
But if you’re technically minded, you can learn a lot about how a system functions by building a test instance and poking it with a stick. It’s non-trivial, but community guides are available to help users get a Signal server up and running and some interesting forks exist, including a decentralized messaging system.