Silence (formerly SMSSecure) is a full open source end to end encrypted text messaging replacement application for your Android smartphone. Silence messages are end-to-end encrypted over the air using the Axolotl encryption protocol with other Silence users. If the other party does not have Silence installed you can still communicate, just not encrypted.
Silence is a fork of the Signal app from Whisper Systems. Silence communicates using the SMS protocol so no servers or internet connection is required. Signal has moved away from using SMS and uses your data channel over the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) service. Silence is for those who wish to have a secure SMS option. All SMS traffic metadata is retained by your cellular provider whereas Signal bypasses SMS as long as the other person is using Signal also.
Silence is not backwards compatible with Signal users. If you want Signal but don’t have the Google Play store, you can look at the Noise app which does not rely on Google services and can communicate with Signal users.
Information about Metadata:
Some key points of the Silence app:
- Keeps SMS/MMS encryption.
- Drops Google services dependencies (push messages are not available in Silence).
- Integrates upstream bugfixes and patches from Signal.
- No dependencies on the Google Play app store. Able to download from other app markets like F-Droid.
- Same encryption used by Signal.
- Does not have secure voice calls like Signal.
- Requires less permissions than Signal.
- Is the default messenger for the Android Copperhead OS.
If you do not want to use or install the Google Play store, Silence is a good secure replacement for the Play Store dependent Signal app because Silence will work without any proprietary Google services. Signal will not work at all without the Play Store installed on your phone. For trademark reasons, Silence is currently not available on Play Store in the U.S., but you can still download Silence in the U.S. from F-Droid, a repository of Free and Open Source (FOSS) apps on the Android platform supported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
If you still prefer Signal messenger but do not have or want the Google Play Store installed, take a look at Noise, a fork of the Signal messenger by the Copperhead OS team.
Silence looks and functions just like any other messenger app, specifically resembling its parent; Signal from Whisper Systems.
Encryption keys must be manually accepted if both parties have the Silence app. Its as easy as tapping the lock icon and “start a secure session”. If someone initiates an exchange with you, the key will appear on your screen. Just tap to accept.