In a previous post with the mouthful of a title “Modernizing Expectations for the Nouveau Secure Mobile Messaging Movement”, I spoke about all of the necessary security features a modern mobile messaging app should have. These include encrypted local storage, end-to-end verifiable encryption over the network, certificate pinning for server connections and a variety of other features. I am VERY happy to report that the latest v12 beta release of the project formerly known as Gibberbot, now called ChatSecure, has all of the features described in that post implemented. From a feature perspective, it is the most security mobile messaging app ever. We also hope that in reality, in practice, it also is, as we have spent a great deal of effort on security code audits, penetration testing, and responding to the outcomes of those effort, to further harden our app.
NOW, moving on to a more lighthearted, but equally important topic – MAKEOVERS! Well, in truth, it is countless hours of study trying to understand how we could make our app not only secure, but also beautiful, efficient and fun. On top of that, countless more hours actually implementing it, debugging it across Android operating systems from 2.3 to 4.3, and making sure it works as well on a Nexus 7 tablet as it does a bargain basement ZTE device.
Much of this effort was spent on features like themeing, emoji/emoticon support, swipe navigation and improved color schemes for various states of encryption. This may seem frivolous to some, especially while they are “real” problems out there like backdoored basebands and weakened random number generators. However, while we continue to do all we can to ensure our apps are fortresses, we also must make sure they are comfortable fortresses, as we hope and expect our users to spend many hours a day inside of them. If you eyes will be staring at something for that long, don’t you want smooth fonts, and cohesive color schemes? If you are going to be navigating between chats and buddies a hundred times a day, wouldn’t you expect us to make that as seamless an move as possible? Yes, yes, and so we did!
In the end, we designed our software around people who have little patience or spare time, and every right to be that way – activists, human rights defenders, journalists – people on the front lines in conflict zones and change in their society around the world. Usability for them means they have more time to be in the real world, while still having our apps maximize the precious time they have to communicate digitally, and of course, ensure that the walls of our digital fortress around them are as high and hard as can be.
You can get your hands on this fully functional beta right here on HockeyApp: https://rink.hockeyapp.net/apps/2fa3b9252319e47367f1f125bb3adcd1/ or directly from our site – ChatSecure APK and signature ASC.
WARNING: The current beta does not supporting importing your existing account configurations, and you will need to setup the accounts again.