Signal Introduces Usernames, Allowing Users to Keep Their Phone Numbers Private

neub9
By neub9
2 Min Read



Feb 21, 2024

Newsroom

Secure Communication / Anonymity

End-to-end encrypted (E2EE) messaging app Signal has announced a new feature that allows users to create unique usernames and keep their phone numbers private.

“If you use Signal, your phone number will no longer be visible to everyone you chat with by default,” Signal’s Randall Sarafa announced. “People who have your number saved in their phone’s contacts will still see your phone number since they already know it.”

To set a new username, account holders will need to provide two or more numbers at the end of it (e.g., axolotl.99) in an effort to keep them “egalitarian and minimize spoofing.” Usernames can be changed any number of times, but it’s worth noting that they are not logins or handles.


Cybersecurity

In summary, a username is an anonymous way to initiate conversations on the chat platform without having to share phone numbers. The feature is opt-in, although Signal said it’s also taking steps to hide by default users’ phone numbers from others who do not have them saved in their phone’s contacts.

Additionally, users can control who can find them by their numbers using another setting, restricting people from messaging them even if they are in possession of the phone numbers.

Both these options can be toggled via the following steps –

  • Settings > Privacy > Phone Number > Who Can See My Number > Everybody / Nobody
  • Settings > Privacy > Phone Number > Who Can Find Me By Number > Everybody / Nobody

“Your phone number will no longer be visible to people you chat with on Signal, unless they have it in their phone’s contacts,” Sarafa said. “You will also be able to configure a new privacy setting to limit who can find you by your phone number on Signal.”

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