Signal introduces usernames, allowing users to keep their phone numbers private

Signal Username

End-to-end encrypted (E2EE) messaging app Signal said it is testing a new feature that will let users create unique usernames (not to be confused with profile names) and keep phone numbers away from prying eyes.

“By default, when you use Signal, your phone number is no longer visible to anyone you chat with,” says Signal’s Randall Sarafa. said. “People who have your number saved in their phone’s contacts will still see your phone number because they already know it.”

Setting up a new username requires account holders 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 an unlimited number of times, but it’s worth noting that they are not logins or access names.

Cybersecurity

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

Additionally, another setting allows users to control who can find them based on their number, preventing people from sending messages even if they have the phone numbers.

Signal username

Both options can be switched via the following steps:

  • Settings > Privacy > Phone number > Who can see my number > Everyone / Nobody
  • Settings > Privacy > Phone number > Who can find me by number > Everyone / Nobody

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



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