ObjectiveInstall Signal on Android and Linux.
DistributionsThis guide is geared towards Ubuntu and Debian, but will work on other distributions with modification.
RequirementsA working Linux install with root privileges and an Android phone
- # - requires given linux command to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
- $ - given linux command to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
IntroductionDo you wish there was a more secure option for sending text messages and even making calls from your phone? Wouldn't it be great if that option utilized end-to-end encryption to ensure that your communications were entirely protected? Well, that option exists in the form of Signal.
Signal is an open source app that supports text and calls. It's available for Android and iOS, and it has desktop clients available across platforms. If you're wondering exactly how trustworthy Signal is, it was endorsed by Edward Snowden and the EFF. It's pretty safe to say that it's a good option.
Install Signal On AndroidThe first thing you're going to need to do is install Signal on Android. The desktop app just syncs with your Android device, so it won't do much good until you get Android set up.
If your phone has the Google Play Store available, just search for Signal and install it. The developer is Open Whisper Systems, so look for that to make sure you have the right app.
In case you don't have the Play Store, you can still install Signal. The
.apkis available directly form the Signal website. You can download and install it directly on your phone if you've enabled untrusted sources in your settings.
Next, it'll ask you to set up an account and link your phone number. It'll automatically populate everything, just accept. It'll ask for permissions to use SMS messages. Accept that as well, it'll send a text message with a verification code. See that it matches the one that appears on your screen, and accept that too.
Signal will ask you to set up a profile name and avatar. This information will only be shown to your contacts and the people that you communicate with. You can change it later, so don't feel obligated to get the perfect avatar picture immediately.
Finally, Signal will lead you to its main message screen, which will be blank. There will be a banner message across the top asking if you want to use Signal as your default text messaging app. If you do, only messages sent to other Signal users will be encrypted. For everyone else, they'll just be normal text messages. If you want to try Signal out first, you can do that too. You can set Signal as the default in its settings.
Install Signal On LinuxNow, it's time to set up Signal on your desktop. You can use the Signal app on your phone all you like without ever doing this part. The desktop client is just there for convenience. Think of it like a more robust version of something like KDE Connect.
Debian and UbuntuDebian based distributions are officially supported by Signal. They maintain a repository that contains updated
.debpackages. Start by importing the GPG key for the repo.
$ curl -s https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | sudo apt-key add -Next, add the repository. It says "xenial" for the version, but this will work on any current version of Debian or Ubuntu.
$ echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.listFinish by installing the desktop app.
$ sudo apt update $ sudo apt install signal-desktop
Other DistributionsOn other distributions, you can still install Signal from a Snap. You can find the snap here.
Link Your DevicesOnce you have Signal on both your desktop and your Android phone, you can link them. Start by opening the app on your desktop.
Grab your phone, and open up Signal. Tap the three dots at the top right of the screen, and select
Settingsfrom the menu. There are some great security settings there under the Signal settings. Definitely explore them when you get a chance. Tap on