Standalone Signal Desktop Messaging App Released
2.11.2017 securityweek Privacy
Signal, a popular secure messaging application, is now available for Windows, macOS, and Linux computers as a standalone program.
Developed by Open Whisper Systems, Signal provides users with end-to-end encrypted messaging functionality and is already used by millions of privacy-focused Android and iOS users. The server doesn’t have access to users’ communication and no data is stored on it, thus better keeping all conversations safe from eavesdropping.
The first Signal for desktop application was released in December 2015 in the form of a Chrome application that could provide users with the same features as the mobile software, namely end-to-end encryption, free private group, text, picture, and video messaging.
Now, the company has decided to make Signal Desktop available as a standalone application and to retire the Chrome app.
The standalone application was released with support for the 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, for macOS 10.9 and above, and Linux distributions supporting APT, such as Ubuntu or Debian.
Using Signal Desktop requires pairing it with a phone first. People who have been using the Signal Desktop Chrome App can export their data and import it into the new Signal Desktop app as part of the setup process. Thus, users will be able to access all of their old conversations and contacts.
The standalone Signal Desktop application can be downloaded directly from the official website.
In late September, Open Whisper Systems revealed plans of a new private contact discovery service for Signal. The goal is to prevent anyone using modified Signal code to log the process of contact discovery the application performs when first installed, in order to determine which of one’s contacts also use the service.
In December 2016, after learning that ISPs in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates started blocking the Signal service and website, Open Whisper Systems announced a new feature for its Android application meant to bypass censorship. The technique they used is called domain fronting and relies on the use of different domain names at different layers of communication.