The EU’s European Commission has told all staff that they should switch to the Signal messaging app instead of using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Apple’s Messages due to increasing cybersecurity fears, Politico reports. The dictum came in early February when the European Commission sent a message to all staff on its internal messaging boards saying, “Signal has been selected as the recommended application for public instant messaging.”
Signal has long been praised as the most secure messaging app out there by security and privacy advocates, including Edward Snowden. That’s thanks to the app’s strong end-to-end encryption. But other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages are also end-to-end encrypted (Facebook Messenger is not), so why is the EC recommending its staff switch to Signal instead of those apps?
Part of the reason is that hacking attempts have increased on high-profile individuals, including Jeff Bezos, by using messages sent via popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, as a vector. However, the biggest single differentiator between Signal and other end-to-end encrypted message apps is Signal is open source, while Facebook’s WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages are not.
An open-source secure messaging app means anyone can view the source code of the app and check to see that the app is really doing all it claims, such as keeping your messages safe from prying eyes, including the app maker itself. While it’s unlikely Facebook or Apple’s secure messaging apps are being less than honest about their capabilities, Signal’s open-source nature provides peace of mind for those who want to confirm an app is doing what it says on the tin. That’s very appealing to a large governmental organization like the European Commission.
Thinking of switching to Signal yourself? Here are all the reasons why you may want to.