Monday, July 15

Is Signal More Secure Than WhatsApp?

The change in privacy policies of messenger apps has been a hot topic for a long time now. Several concerns come along with it. Whether or not to use a particular app and which app is more secure to use… are great concerns. In this blog, we hope to answer and clear all your doubts related to this topic. First of all, let us learn a little about the backstory of these famous apps.

Signal vs. WhatsApp comparison

Signal App – The Story of its Birth and Growth

WhatsApp Messenger is one of the most used communication apps with more than 2 billion users. It is popular among all age groups and people use it on a daily basis for messaging. This app was purchased, in 2014, by Facebook. This online message service got more popular as it uses end-to-end encryption for everyday communications. In 2016, this feature was introduced as its default feature to message.

To make this happen, this platform cooperated with Open Whisper Systems of Moxie Marlinspike. This was done for integrating Signal encryption protocol in messaging. Google and Microsoft are also known to use this protocol. This protocol is considered the premium standard for encrypted communications worldwide.

At the present, Open Whisper Systems is known as Signal Messenger. It is an LLC and comes under the Signal Foundation. The foundation put forward great efforts for the rebranding of its app. Flagship Signal app by the Signal Foundation offers full-fledged and easier secure communications under its rights.

They provide direct as well as group messaging. Also, one-to-one video and audio chat options are available. All of this makes up great reasons to switch to awesome and original flavour by secure messaging and leave WhatsApp. In February of 2020, the European Commission recommended its employees to do absolutely this.

Technology experts are advising you to use Signal messenger for all conversations that you need to keep private. Many believe that you should use this app over others even for minimal online tasks like sharing Disney+ password. Why? Below we have listed the main reasons why this opinion is becoming popular.

Why is Signal Messenger Considered Better?

WhatsApp is a famous app worldwide. From daily chit-chats with friends to discussing important work assignments, it has become an integral part of our lives. There must be some strong reasons why technology experts suggest moving on from this messaging app. Here are the main reasons why people are considering Signal as a better messaging app:

  1. Signal Security Provides More Up-To-Date Features

When it comes to security, new features show up first on Signal. For instance, the Signal app has the feature for disappearing messages since 2016. With this feature, the messages are automatically deleted when a specified amount of time has passed. However, this feature was only recently launched for WhatsApp users.

privacy-focused messaging apps

There are various other beta and mainstream features on Signal that are not provided to WhatsApp users. These features include encrypted profiles and view-once media messages. Besides, WhatsApp does not provide an incognito keyboard switch to Android users. It is important as this feature keeps Gboard from transferring your type history to Google. In addition, there are no backups that do not get stored as unencrypted in Apple iCloud or Google Drive.

Also, Signal has a bigger range when it comes to clients. They have a client devoted to users of Linux desktop as well. This is likely to please the experts in the data analysis and security fields. On the contrary, WhatsApp keeps directing the users to its web app.

  1. Signal App is Open Source

All the source code of the Signal app is published for everyone and anyone to observe, examine and use. This is legal for clients under the GPLv3 license and for the server under an AGPLv3 license. It means that anyone can watch what is happening on the inside of it. For further use, you can rely on specialists who are experts in reviewing the code.

  1. Lesser Potential of Hidden Vulnerabilities

WhatsApp messenger is a bigger platform. It is more inviting for malicious actors to begin with. In addition, the codebase of this green app is an exclusive closed box. This means it might take longer to detect dangerous vulnerabilities.

Any app can and probably would suffer from vulnerabilities. The signal app has fixed a few of them for itself. However, the closed source code of WhatsApp births a huge number of potential targets that stay unknown until they get exploited. For example, in 2019, WhatsApp’s VoIP stack was used for injecting spyware by intelligence agencies.

  1. Makes Running Your Signal Server Possible

Another great benefit of open-source software might be that you can experiment with it. Though it is only advised to try if you are very interested. You probably would not need or want a Signal server for yourself to use for either business or personal reasons. It is designed as a platform for mass communication and it is not really intended for scaling down.

It takes a whole lot of effort to build. Plus, currently, there are no containerised versions to easily deploy. However, if you are technically minded, there is an opportunity to learn about how the systems function. You can build a test instance to start. It is non-trivial, though there are community guides to help users for working on a Signal server. With the guidelines, you can run and use the interesting forks.

The Best Features of WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp messaging platform is quite rich when it comes to features. You can have a chat in a group with 256 members. Also, group video calling can be done with eight people. It provides the option to broadcast messages to multiple users at the same time. You can share quotes and special moments by displaying them as your Status. This Status feature is similar to the Stories on Instagram and Facebook.

All these features make WhatsApp a reputed social media platform instead of being just a messenger app. Furthermore, this application provides the facility of free backup to third-party providers like Google Drive and iCloud. This makes it easier to restore the texts if you somehow lose them or you change your smartphone. Nevertheless, as stated above, this backup feature does not encrypt messages which is a risk to your privacy

WhatsApp has recently added the functionality to disappear messages as well. If you turn on this option, it will self-destruct the sent messages after seven days. There is no option to set a timer for disappearing on this feature.

Where does the Signal App Stand?

Signal also provides similar features such as video calling and group chat. But there is no option for broadcasting a message to two or more people simultaneously. Also, there is no section to share Stories. However, if privacy is what you care for, these limitations hardly matter to your concern.

The great thing about Signal is it allows you to send disappearing messages. Why is it better than WhatsApp? Because here the messages are self-destructed after a preset time interval. These intervals can be set to 5 seconds as well as a whole week, and of course any time limit in between. There is also a feature called “Note to Self” which allows you to maintain a record of remainders or your thoughts.  

There is one major feature that is missing on Signal and it is the cloud backup option. This means you cannot restore your messages once you have deleted them. This includes accidental deletes, changing your device, and switching your number. Though, you can make local backups in the encrypted form on your phone or desktop.

There is another popular reason why Signal can be placed behind WhatsApp. It is that Signal currently does not possess a wide-ranging user base. WhatsApp has 2 billion active users per month. In comparison to that, Signal only has 10 to 20 million. Lastly, it does not permit you to sync your previous messages across Android and iOS on Windows and macOS.

WhatsApp or Signal Messenger – Which is Better?

For a regular WhatsApp user, there is no need for switching to Signal for now. More so, if you are already a user of Instagram and Facebook. There is no special threat to your data from the company for the time being. In case, you are too worried about WhatsApp privacy policies, you can leave Facebook and change the messaging app you use. If we talk about the alternative for WhatsApp, the Signal app is a great option for daily use.

Many people downloaded and used Signal but decided to stick to WhatsApp as of now. The reasons for this activity can be simple – people are used to WhatsApp and do not wish to change something they have been using for so long. On the other hand, some users switched to Signal and are happy with the change.

Both the apps have some pros and cons as mentioned above. Which app suits you the best depends on what features you care for the most.

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