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Is Signal the Best Alternative to WhatsApp? How to Use Chat Apps Securely

Signal is hot these days.

As Elon Musk publicly boosted Signal on his twitter, Signal has ranked the top of free app list on Google Play Store.

google play store with signal top

There was a moment that Signal suffered from such a traffic problem that users failed to receive their verification code.

Therefore, if you are an existing user of Signal, never feel strange as you receive a Signal notification that “… is on Signal” since you’ll receive more.

Then, is Signal the best alternative to WhatsApp as a chat app? Let’s dig into the problem in detail.

Why WhatsApp Users Are Fleeing?

When people feel insecure, they’ll run away. That also works on WhatsApp circumstances.

WhatsApp users decide to flee from the application just because it lets them feel insecure. How?

Facebook, the owner firm of WhatsApp, recently updated WhatsApp’s privacy policy allowing WhatsApp users’ online data to be shared with other messenger apps. Earlier than that, Facebook had been accused of users’ data breach issue and quite a large number of Facebook users have decided to quit Facebook and Instagram.

The new privacy policy of WhatsApp allows its users’ data to be shared with other messenger apps owned by Facebook, which means the data will be gained by other parties. As a matter of fact, since WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, users’ data will be naturally regarded as insecure.

How Secure is Signal as a Messenger App?

In fact, Signal has been boosted by many celebrities other than Elon Musk, including Edward Snowden that is a whistleblower and privacy advocate, Jack Dorsey that is CEO of Twitter and Square, Laura Poitras that is Oscar-winning filmmaker and journalist, Bruce Schneier that is an Internationally renowned security technologist, etc., which can be seen on Signal’s homepage.

When it comes to security, Signal features the following attributes.

Non-profit Firm

There are so many free apps to chat on the market but only Signal is up to now the only one that can be really labeled as “free”. How come?

Let’s recall all the free apps you’ve used or are using. Yes, the free apps can be used without any cost, but you have to watch the ads and allow your data to be shared with some parties. Perhaps you will deny allowing your data to be shared by other parties. But you are always required to click the Agree button as you first use the app.

If you use a free app, YOU will become a part of the app.

When it comes to Signal, there’s a different situation. You can never see any ad on Signal because the firm running Signal is a non-profit one. You’re encouraged to donate to Signal but you aren’t required to.

Therefore, as you use Signal on your device, there’s no need to worry about your data security. No ads publisher’s contribution, no parties’ peeking on your data.

Open-Source Software

Apart from the free feature, Signal is regarded as secure because it’s open source.

Open-source software is transparent, and the codes can be found on Github, available for anyone and developers. As a result, users are able to know all the details about open-source software. Whether it logs users’ data or not is accessible. Now that Signal has the courage to make its codes public, it must be very reliable and secure.

Disappearing Message

On Signal, users are allowed to set up a feature of disappearing messages. No matter who you talk with, you can set your message to automatically disappear after it has been read so that no other individuals or parties can see what you send. In Signal, the time span before the message goes automatically deleted can be from 5 seconds to 1 week.

No Trackers. End-to-End Encryption.

According to Signal’s privacy policy, users’ data won’t be collected by Signal and Signal has no its own backup servers to store their users’ data. That means all your data on Signal is secure enough. All the communications between Signal sender and receiver are encrypted from end to end and they can never be decrypted by any other party.

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Is Signal Free of Any Cons?

Definitely not.

One leading potential risk of Signal is that your personal phone number is required to provide as you register for a Signal account.

Have you doubted the security when your personal phone number is linked with an account? Perhaps you have such an idea in your mind that Signal isn’t the only app asking for my personal phone number. Almost all apps or websites call for a personal phone number before a new account is established.

That’s very true.

However, your personal phone number exposes too much of your personal information and if it gets exposed, your private information will be leaked by default. Then, the Signal may be the second WhatsApp.

How to Use Your Chat Apps Securely?

Chat apps are such important tools today that people must check every day. Too much data is transferred through chat apps and if your data on messenger apps are breached, your privacy will be compromised. Then, apart from the security of the chat apps you use, some easy and useful tips should be kept in mind to minimize your online risk.

Use a Virtual Number to Register for Signal

Just like what’s discussed above, the only risk of Signal is the personal phone number requirement for a new account. Your personal phone number carries so much of your personal information, after all. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use a virtual number to register for a Signal account so that you won’t need to worry about the security of your personal phone number. However, you should pay much attention to the usability of the virtual number you’ll use for Signal registration because not all virtual numbers can be used to register for Signal.

Use a VPN

A VPN is so highly recommended to protect your online security and privacy because it is able to hide your IP address based on which all your online activities can be tracked by your ISP, prying eyes or even hackers. To protect your privacy when a messenger app is used, a VPN can be used so that all the communications with the Internet are kept secret under the cover of an encrypted tunnel created by a VPN.

Manage Your Password

Make sure your account password is strictly protected from being leaked. This is the fundamental measure to protect your online account from being exposed. Not your chap app password alone, the passwords of all your accounts should be well protected. If necessary, two-factor authentication is suggested to add more security to your password.

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