Sexting is all the rage nowadays. Every nightly news channel has at least one story a week about parents horrified to learn that their teens are sending each other nudes.
You know what's even more popular than the news stories about clueless parents who are terrified of anything that has to do with sex?
That's right: the news stories about the latest politician, celebrity, or even priest who's been caught in a sexting scandal.
As much fun as these stories are to gossip about, they strike horror into the heart of everyone who has a passion for sending nudes and naughty messages. Could I be next? you wonder.
Unfortunately, hackers and identity thieves constantly get better and better at finding ways to break into your supposedly secure accounts. Cybersecurity is a never-ending arms race that makes the Cold War look like a playground staring contest.
But never fear: you're about to learn all about Signal, the nuke of secure messaging.
Signal doesn't mess around with bells and whistles. Everything about the app is designed for function. And in a world with a thousand and one messaging servers, the function that Signal offers is security.
The app is so secure, it's been endorsed by Edward Snowden and approved for use by US senators and their staff for sending highly sensitive messages.
In fact, after the Clinton email scandal broke, the DNC staff was told to use Signal when saying anything less than positive about Donald Trump.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit devoted to defending internet civil liberties, gave Signal a perfect score on their secure messaging scorecard. As of 2019, it's one of only 7 messaging apps to get straight As.
Convinced yet? Let's look at some of what Signal has to offer.
The app features end-to-end encryption, the gold standard of security.
Even the app manufacturers don't have access to your messages, calls, or metadata (like the times or locations that messages were sent or received).
In other words, even if they're ordered to turn over information by a court, they don't have any information to turn over.
This actually happened in 2016. A federal grand jury ordered Signal's parent company, Open Whisper Systems (OWS), to turn over information about messages that had been sent over Signal.
There was also a gag order in place, preventing OWS from telling anyone about the subpoena.
OWS contacted the ACLU, who challenged the gag order in court (which is how the story came out in October of 2016).
While the subpoena was valid, the only information OWS could present was when the user had formed their account and the last time they had connected to Signal.
With high-level security that can withstand the force of a federal subpoena, your nudes have never been safer.
Another common fear among sexters is that their partner will save their photos and use them vengefully if and when the relationship ends.
Signal has a solution for this, too: you can set your chat history to disappear after a certain amount of time (you choose how long), and the messages, photos, and all other communications will be permanently deleted from all devices.
This helps keep your sexting alive, too. No chat history means you've got to keep coming up with new ways to wow your lover (but we're sure you're up to the challenge).
With all the high-tech security and glowing recommendations, you're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop. Such a high-quality service must cost a pretty penny, right?
Put away your wallet: Signal is completely free.
Yes, completely. You don't have to put in credit card information, you don't have to pay any extra fees for long-distance or international calls, and you don't have to put up with any annoying ads.
The Signal Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit that pays for their overhead through grants and donations, not user fees or ad revenue.
You don't even have to sign up for an account--the entire process is done using your cell phone number.
No passwords to remember, and you can communicate with any contacts you already have in your phone over Signal, whether those people have the app or not.
Besides the top-of-the-line security system, the disappearing chat history, and the best price you could ask for?
How about the open-source code? Signal's code is freely available online, so you can look over it and see for yourself how beautifully designed this security system is.
Maybe you're not much of a tech person, and code might as well be Sanskrit to you.
Check out this testimonial from Matt Green, a cryptographer at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute:
After reading the code, I literally discovered a line of drool running down my face. It's really nice.
You have to be a special kind of person to start salivating over code, but it's a good sign when an expert in the field can't hold in his excitement.
There's not much to complain about with Signal. It's not the most beautiful interface, but you aren't using it for the aesthetic.
You're using it for the security, and the security is unparalleled.
The UI is functional and straightforward, so there's no learning curve to using it.
The app isn't yet compatible with tablets, but the dev team is working on it, and we can expect a release soon that will expand Signal to all devices.
Signal is absolutely one of the most secure messaging servers out there. If it's good enough to impress Snowden, the US Senate, the DNC, and a cryptographer from Hopkins, it's good enough to keep your sexts safe.
I've used Signal for months, and I've never found any problems with it. I'm in the process of slowly converting my friends to using Signal by telling them, "Just try it for a week!"
So far, I haven't had anyone stop using it after giving it a shot.
So what are you waiting for? Download Signal for free today and keep your private messages private--as they should be. Signal gets a 4/5 star rating.