Signal Private Messenger – What is it and how does it work?Last Updated by Benjamin Walsh on February 05, 2019
What is Signal Private Messenger?
Signal is an open source messaging app which is free to install and easy to use.
The design is simple with an interface easy to navigate, so it’ll be easy to convince more people to try it out. Just like SMS function on a cellphone, Signal displays messages in color-coded text boxes.
Open source means the code is publicly available, which means anyone can independently edit it, and vulnerabilities can be exposed and fixed.
Essentially, anything open-sourced means it’s continually being updated by its community to make it as efficient, safe, secure, and private as possible.
Privacy and Security
Resultingly, hackers, companies, ISPs, and any other third-party attempting to intercept the comms won’t be able to observe the content.
The app encryption also applies to phone calls; however, the level is not as high as with the messaging. Maintaining a high level of encryption over phone calls would require a tremendous amount of processing power which could, in turn, affect the quality of the phone call. If you are exchanging highly sensitive information, it’s more secure to do so by text.
Other Noteworthy Privacy and Security Features
1 Baseband Processor
A baseband processor is implemented in all current smartphones, acting like a secondary, closed source operating system that your phone utilizes, which is not well documented, and understanding of it is generally vague. Though this is not a Signal Private Messenger issue, it can lead to complications.
By default, every baseband processor trusts any data received from a station like a cell tower; no checks are performed. Resultingly, ISPs could potentially bypass Signal’s encryption and access all the information on your phone.
2 Google Play Services
The official Signal android app uses Google Play Services for installation and running. A reliance on a separate service can be considered a flaw in Signals security as the software allows Google to monitor the device.
3 Blocked in Some Countries
For security purposes, governments in some countries aren’t overly keen on individuals being able to communicate in complete privacy, with information encoded, and have banned Signal Private Messenger. Currently, Signal is blocked in Egypt, UAE, Oman, Qatar, and China.
How to Overcome These Issues
It’s possible to overcome the potential issues listed above and also bolster your security by using a VPN.
Using a VPN will not only provide you with an extra layer of privacy and security, but it will also allow you to connect to more global servers.
When you connect to a server in a different country to yours, you deceive any website, app, or online service into believing that you are actually there.
Our top recommended VPN services for use with Signal.