The EU Commission now uses Signal: more secure than WhatsApp?

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There European Commission advised his staff to use the messaging app Signal for communications to the outside. It is an end-to-end encrypted messaging app similar in some ways to Whatsapp it's at Telegram. The decision comes following some cybersecurity problems that seem to have affected Commission employees.

The communication on Signal within the Commission's notice boards arrived in early February and the choice would have fallen on this app due to the nature open-source of the technology behind it. Signal was developed in 2013 by a group of developers attentive to privacy issues and supported by a non-profit foundation supported by the original founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton. Him, after the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, he left the company to quarrel with Facebook executives.

Both Signal and WhatsApp are based on the same protocol, known as Open Whisper Systems, with the difference that the app is now in the hands of Facebook not open-source. The other popular messaging app, Telegram, is facing similar problems because it is accused of lack of transparency about how its encryption works.

The European Commission must take action after the cyber security research company Area 1 Security he said he discovered that thousands of diplomatic documents had been downloaded from the system Coreu of the EU, a system that is used by national governments and EU institutions to share information on foreign policy.

It was discovered in June that in 2017 the EU delegation in Moscow suffered a violation of cyber security, with two computers allegedly hacked to gain diplomatic information. On Wednesday the Commission officially announced that it will take a series of precautions to prevent such cases from happening again, starting with the messaging app that its officials will use. He previously announced that he would establish a "common cyber security unit" to support EU countries and organizations in the event of an attack.

Commission officials are already required to use encrypted emails to exchange sensitive and unclassified information, while for the classified documents there are even stricter security rules. The use of Signal was mainly recommended for communications between staff and people outside the institution. a decision showing that the Commission is working to improve its cyber security policies.

According to Politico reports, moreover, the officials of Brussels, as well as those of Washington, have put strong pressure on Facebook and Apple for government agencies to have access to encrypted messages. If there has been no tangible follow-up to these requests to date, institutions could introduce laws to make messaging platforms more transparent for government agencies.

American, British and Australian officials have already made requests to Mark Zuckerberg. However, according to cyber security experts, weakening the encryption techniques of messaging apps would jeopardize the confidentiality of communications.


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