Elon Musk questions the security of messaging app Signal

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In the “war” of secure instant messaging applications, two services dominate the others: Signal and Telegram. It is therefore not surprising that one tries to denigrate the other to encourage users to change creameries. This time, it was Telegram, through its CEO Pavel Durov, who questioned the security of the rival open source solution. He is indirectly supported in his remarks by Elon Musk, never the last to change his mind (he supported Signal in 2021 against WhatsApp) and launch assertions without the slightest proof.

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Telegram tackle Signal

It all started a few days ago with an article by Christopher Rufo, an American conservative activist. This notably questions the integrity and reliability of Katherine Maher, current president of the board of directors of Signal. Passed by Wikipedia from 2016, this would have, in its fight against “disinformation“(the term is put in quotation marks by Rufo), collaborated with the government to censor points of view”supposedly fascist” (same, quotation marks come from the article), including that of Donald Trump.

In short, the man does not like Maher and thinks that his role within Signal compromises the application. He declares : “Behind its ideology, “Internet freedom” is a tactic, not a principle, and “fighting disinformation” means suppressing speech, including here at home.

Signal

Signal

To download on PC (Windows, MacOS and Linux), as well as on Android or iOS smartphone and tablet, Signal is Open Source instant messaging software, simple, fast, without advertising and completely secure and encrypted.

  • Version :
    7.8.0
  • Downloads:
    146
  • Release date :
    05/13/2024
  • Author :
    Open Whisper Systems
  • Licence :
    Free software
  • Categories:

    Internet – Communication

  • Operating system :

    Android, Linux, Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11, iOS iPhone / iPad, macOS

But what does Telegram do in all this? In a message on this messaging service competing with Signal, its CEO, Pavel Durov, cites Rufo's article. Durov adds: “An alarming number of high-profile people I've spoken to have pointed out that their “private” Signal messages have been exploited against them in US courts or media.” He also highlights the absence of reproducible compilations of Signal on iOS (the possibility of recompiling an open source application yourself to check if there are differences with the version published by the publisher).

Elon Musk no longer likes Signal

In a post on X (Twitter), Elon Musk reacted to Christopher Rufo's post, indicating that it exists “known vulnerabilities in Signal that are not fixed“. To which the community, using X's built-in tool to add context, responds by stating that there is no evidence to support such accusations.

This context note also points towards a long answer by Meredith Whittaker, CEO of Signal. The latter indicates in particular that regular audits carried out by professionals take place on the open source solution. She also points out that Signal's encrypted security protocol, built over the last decade, still holds up. As for the technical impossibility of making reproducible compilations on iOS because of Apple, Meredith Whittaker indicates that this practice is encouraged by Signal.

For his part, Matthew Green, professor of cryptography at Johns Hopkins University, points out in a long thread that Telegram is not end-to-end encrypted by default, unlike Signal.



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