About six months ago, encrypted communication experts from Open Whisper Systems launched Signal 2.0, a call and text encryption app for iOS. Although a young communication app by industry standards, Signal managed to gain an impressive amount of recognition among those who value their online privacy. In fact, Signal has gained so much confidence from the privacy-minded group that even Edward Snowden took to Twitter earlier today to promote the app's launch on Android.
Although numerous encryption apps are currently available for both Android and iOS devices, Signal gets special credit because Open Whisper Systems publishes the app's open source code on GitHub. This means that security experts can dive into the code and find out exactly what the app does with your texts and calls in the background. With other encryption apps, you just have to trust the developers that everything is handled properly.
Back in November 2014, Open Whisper Systems announced that it has partnered with WhatsApp to bring its TextSecure encryption protocol to the Facebook-owned instant messaging service.
Although Signal was an iOS-only affair prior to today's launch on Android, two other apps from Open Whispers - TextSecure and RedPhone - used to individually offer Signal's two main features, text and call encryption. TextSecure is now being updated with voice call support and is rebranded to Signal. RedPhone will no longer be supported and users will be prompted to install the new Signal app.
At this point, it should be noted that while an app may do a perfect job of encrypting texts and voice calls, this becomes a pointless measure if the operating system has been hacked and alters or bypasses the data encryption.
Here's what Snowden said about Signal earlier today on Twitter:
If Snowden's endorsement makes you want to use the app, you can head on over to the Google Play Store and download Signal