When an app tells you that all your information and conversations are completely private and secure, do you immediately believe them? A few years ago, most people would probably have given a resounding yes. But we’ve seen data hacks and leaks that have probably made us all a little more cynical. That’s why messaging app Signal has been offering a way for users to check if their messages are truly private, but the process was a little complicated. The latest update makes that a bit simpler and more secure.
Previously, you and whoever you’re talking to had to scan a QR code then compare a set of numbers to verify that your conversation really is secure. But you had to of course both have the app and both be online. The code also includes either party’s phone number. Open Whisper, developer of the Signal app, says that even though they give detailed mechanics, people still didn’t know how to proceed, leading to “false positives, false negatives, and low success rates.”
But with the updated app, there is only one QR code that needs to be scanned and it will no longer have the phone number so it means it’s more secure. You also no longer need to verify a contact again to continue conversations, if ever you change your device. It has an “advisory mode” which tells you the conversation is no longer verified but you can still continue with it. This mode however is automatically switched off but they said if it becomes popular, they will make it an enabled feature.
You can update your Signal app to enjoy this simpler, more secure verification process. And if you don’t have this app yet, maybe CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s public recommendation of the app will be enough reason for you to trust it.