If you have ever worried about your online security or data privacy, you are not the only one. Safety online, particularly regarding the amount of data big tech companies are gathering on us, is a growing concern for many people.
But it is not just our social media activity that leaves a data footprint, or our search history, data is even being collected from our messaging apps. Some messaging apps have become a source of data farming for tech companies who profit off the data we are inadvertently providing. Many people believe the messages we send to friends and family are private, but that is not always the case. There are platforms that gather small amounts of data about you, and there are those that collate vast databases of information about your daily life.
You should be able to have a private conversation online without being snooped on — just like you would expect in the real world.
WhatsApp Privacy Changes and the Growth of Signal
A controversial change to WhatsApp’s privacy terms has seen millions of users flock away from the platform towards alternative messaging apps. The issue related to changes in WhatsApp’s data-sharing procedures with Facebook and many users were concerned the change would mean sensitive information going to Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company. However, the changes only affect business users — ordinary chats and profile data will be unaffected.
Still, even a whiff of changes to data privacy was enough to send millions of users to alternative messaging apps that pride themselves on their privacy. One example is Signal, which boasts better online security — but it is not the only WhatsApp alternative. The head of the foundation behind messaging app Signal said the platform had seen “unprecedented” growth and they were even looking to hire more staff to cope with the influx of users after WhatsApp announced the changes.
This migration away from the platform, even when the vast majority of users will be unaffected, is a sign of the strength of feeling many people have around online privacy — and it certainly wasn’t helped by Facebook’s track record when it comes to data privacy.
What Is Signal?
Signal is a secure messaging app with end-to-end encryption. It includes all the usual messaging app features, such as one-to-one messaging, group chat, video calls, file transfers, voice calls and stickers. But it doesn’t try to gather your data. In fact, it doesn’t even try to make money.
There are a number of end-to-end encrypted messaging apps out there, but some only offer it as an optional feature. End-to-end encryption means messages sent can only be read by those in the chat – the company that runs the platform can’t read them, even if they want to.
Signal is one option for private messaging, but it is not the only. There are Signal alternatives that include more online security, data privacy and safety features — the best is CoverMe.
Signal vs CoverMe
CoverMe is a private messenger app and a strong contender as a Signal alternative. It uses military grade encryption and helps keep your personal conversations private.
● End-to-end encryption: Like Signal, CoverMe encrypts its messages from end to end. CoverMe uses a range of encryption algorithms. The number of possible combinations these encryption algorithms produce is so vast, it is difficult to put into words. All the computers in the world combined could not crack such a combination in under a thousand years.
● Disappearing messages: CoverMe, like Signal, offers users the ability to put a timer on their messages, before they self-destruct. As an anonymous messaging app, CoverMe allows you to send disappearing messages that delete as soon as they have been read — or after whatever time limit you choose. This gives peace of mind that sensitive or private messages will not be propagated.
● Group chat: Just like Signal, CoverMe allows you to host and join group chats with friends, family, colleagues, or other groups. CoverMe Circles are the app’s answer to group messaging, a popular feature of many other messaging apps.
● No phone number or email required: Unlike Signal, CoverMe does not require a phone number or email address for a user to sign up, providing more anonymity. This also means users can send messages and make calls without giving out their real phone number, leaving no records on phone bills.
● Private phone numbers: Phone number security is an increasingly important and under-valued issue. Our phone numbers are used as unique identifiers and can link information about us across multiple databases. CoverMe provides private phone numbers for use when you wouldn’t feel comfortable about sharing your permanent number. This is a digital equivalent to a burner phone.
● Secure vault: CoverMe provides a secure vault for storing images, video, audio, or other kinds of files. Keeping sensitive or private files and images in your phone’s usual storage can be risky and lead to embarrassing or awkward incidents. CoverMe provides a secure, password protected vault for your files.
● Hide and disguise: CoverMe provides hide and disguise features, meaning the app can be hidden at a moment’s notice by shaking your phone, to protect it against prying eyes. It will disguise itself as a photo album. It is also possible to disguise the app icon on your phone with an inconspicuous icon that would not draw the attention of anyone snooping on your phone.
● Decoy passwords: CoverMe is protected by password access and will even record the information of someone trying to access with the wrong password, by taking a photo and noting the location. However, you can also set up decoy passwords, meaning a fake password can be given out to avoid awkward situations, but using that password will only open a generic app with no personal information, messages, contacts, etc., and the secure vault will be hidden.
So, Is CoverMe or Signal a Better Option?
If you’re looking for privacy and safety, choose CoverMe. CoverMe is a great choice as a private messenger app, providing high levels of data privacy, online security and safety. Its encrypted messages service uses military-grade encryption and its self-destructing messages feature, secure vault, private phone number, and hide and disguise services are excellent added extras, making it a good alternative to the Signal app.
You can download CoverMe here.