If you are a user of the Google Messages app on your Android smartphone, then you will probably have the RCS update designed to introduce standard text messaging in the current century. RCS is already available in all major countries except China, Russia and Iran. Upgrading to standard SMS capabilities, this adds chat functionality to compete with WhatsApp and iMessage. But he doesn̵
The point, of course, is end-to-end encryption. Six months ago, there were reports that Google was developing this level of security to upgrade RCS. From this week it is now finally for public beta testing. At first glance, its purpose is to provide Android users with an alternative to iMessage. But there is an obvious problem – and that is the interruption of the deal. This end-to-end encryption implementation of RCS is not available for groups – at first glance it is too complicated to handle at the moment. In addition, there is still no information on when this limited upgrade can be introduced.
With this in mind, Android users should choose a different alternative, similar to iMessage. Fortunately, there is now a simple solution. Although its standard messenger is not end-to-end encryption by default, Android offers users the option to choose an alternate default messenger that does. Signal is the best secure messenger available. And although the installation base is modest compared to WhatsApp or iMessage, it is growing fast.
On iOS, users run encrypted iMessage and unencrypted SMS side by side in Apple’s default app. You will be introduced to the blue and green text bubbles that distinguish between the two. On Android, you can select Signal as your default messenger, using Signal and SMS side by sideto provide a similar user experience. This will give you the same end-to-end encrypted Android Messages experience, except that it will work for groups and does not require beta installations for anyone you choose to send. The latest production version of Signal will do well.
Like iMessage, you’ll be able to see when your contacts are activated with an alert or when you’re limited to what it calls “unsecured SMS.” This integration is only available on your smartphone. Signal does not offer the desktop option for this integration. “We want to encourage consumers to move away from uncertain inherited protocols,” he said he says. But the Signal desktop app will work well for your encrypted messages.
When switching from Android Messages, you will lose the ability to send RCS messages to other RCS users. SMS in Signal are just the basics of SMS. But Signal itself has the same rich chat functionality as other messengers, and you can encourage close friends, family and contacts to install the app. The signal used to be cumbersome, but that has already changed, as it targets the mainstream with improved functionality, making it a viable default messenger when it wasn’t before.
When even Facebook strongly advises to use end-to-end encrypted messengers, you need to consider. And while Facebook Messenger (ironically) isn’t close to adding that by default, its “secret conversations” are available. More importantly, WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is the world’s leading end-to-end encrypted platform and has all the functionality offered by iMessage and Google’s RCS.
Many Facebook Messenger users on Android have already set it as their standard messenger. Although Facebook Messenger is not end-to-end encrypted by default, it is more secure than the fragmented network-driven SMS architecture. Yes, when the recipient is only on SMS, it becomes a dispute, but you will find much more of your contacts in Facebook Messenger than Signal. However, using Facebook Messenger by default is a bad idea for a variety of reasons. Facebook is the hungriest data collector on your phone. Providing it with your SMS data doesn’t make much sense. WhatsApp does not offer the option to become an SMS messenger on Android, which would be ideal given the huge installation base.
So why is SMS so bad in terms of security? With SMS, your messages are encrypted between your phone and the cellular tower of your network, preventing simple interception over the air. But after this message disappears in the network network for SMS architecture, all bets are excluded. Last year a cyberattack against global carriers search for SMS messages in the networks of choice was found. And, Haaretz soon reports for another complex attack against an Israeli network for intercepting SMS traffic.
When Google’s RCS spread gained popularity last year, a cybersecurity company warn that RCS has done nothing to address vulnerabilities in SMS and as such “exposes most mobile users to hacking”. The lack of security enhancements with Android Messages “allows hackers to intercept and manipulate communication through a DNS spoofing attack.” Google did not answer the question of whether any of these issues were resolved.
IMessage has more than just 1: 1 encryption or group messaging in Apple’s ecosystem. Its innovative encryption architecture works to multiple endpoints – such as your iPhone, iPad and Mac, as full-fledged applications do not disappear from the phone’s database. This network of trusted devices allows a user to run a live backup in iCloud, end-to-end encrypted, which overcomes even the unsecured WhatsApp backup options and the lack of support for multiple devices. There is a security warning in iMessage – if users back up their devices to iCloud, it stores a copy of the encryption key, but such backups are less up-to-date now when iCloud syncs and transfers from device to device when upgrading.
Signal also offers many endpoint applications, you can run the application on your phone and laptop or desktop, although there is no synchronization between these endpoints and there is no removable option to back up different platforms – Signal does nothing that can to violate the integrity of security. When you upgrade to a new device, you can back up and manually transfer the file via. If you still refrain from installing Signal and running it, keep in mind that Google’s new end-to-end encryption on RCS uses the Signal encryption protocol – as well as WhatsApp.
Despite its shortcomings, this move by Google is welcome, especially given the growing threat of end-to-end encryption by lawmakers around the world. This initial beta deals with the most striking problem with SMS and the basic RCS – protecting your chats. But enabling cloud backup will compromise this level of security by essentially storing decrypted messages and lacking an innovative multi-device architecture. The most obvious problem, however, is the lack of support for groups. Unless this is fixed, this encryption is pretty pointless. When this is fixed, this board can be changed. But until then, my recommendation is to use WhatsApp as your main messenger – given its huge user base and although its disadvantages and choose Signal as your standard messenger for Android to deviate from unsecured SMS and RCS where you can.