Signal’s catch 22 problem?

I have been introducing Signal to friends as a proper alternative to Whatsapp. Its mainly been ok but my friend Hannah has hit a catch 22 problem, in her own words…

Signal should be a great app. It’s secure, easy to use and even my most skeptical and tech-suspicious friend uses it. But since I forgot my pin, I’ve not been able to get onto the app, not been able to reset my account or even been able to delete my account to start again!

I did email to get some advice about this problem but what I got back (after nudging to get a response) wasn’t really helpful. Apparently, you can reset your pin once you’re in the app but since I don’t know my pin, I can’t get into the app to reset the pin I don’t know. I also need to be in the app to delete my account. So basically, in order to access the information I need, I need the information I need. And yes, I did query the logic of this advice but it was just repeated to me!

This is really frustrating because even after deleting the app and waiting 7 days as suggested, the problem remains. In fact, I’ve done this a few times, waiting longer periods and it still hasn’t worked. Signal is effectively holding my phone number hostage, not allowing me to use it to create a new account or access the numerous messages I’m informed I’m missing (through other less secure – but at least reliable – platforms).

I get that not revealing my pin to me is a security thing but to be honest, it seems daft that I can’t even reset that pin using other means. For example, Signal already texts me a confirmation number when I try to sign in – surely this is enough to know that I’m the owner of the phone? They also have my email address.

If I really can’t reset my account, I would be more than happy to delete the current account and start over again. But until there’s a way for me to do this without entering the app in the first place, I’m stuck in limbo.

I’ve sent one last email to try and sort it out… fingers crossed!

If anyone has a solid answer what Hannah can do, that would be massively helpful. Even I’m lost to what she can do now.

If you are using whatsapp… update now and consider swapping to Signal!

Whatsapp on a mobile phone

Whatsapp, never used it never will. But I know many many of my friends do – please do update! Or even better dump it and use Signal messenger.

A security flaw in WhatsApp can be, and has been, exploited to inject spyware into victims’ smartphones: all a snoop needs to do is make a booby-trapped voice call to a target’s number, and they’re in. The victim doesn’t need to do a thing other than leave their phone on.

The Facebook-owned software suffers from a classic buffer overflow weakness. This means a successful hacker can hijack the application to run malicious code that pores over encrypted chats, eavesdrops on calls, turns on the microphone and camera, accesses photos, contacts, and other information on a handheld, and potentially further compromises the device. Call logs can be altered, too, to hide the method of infection.

The issue affects WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134, WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348, and WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15.